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Beginner Guitar Lessons- A Step by Step Guide

Guitar Lessons for Beginners - Guitar Chords by Mrguitarist

Being able to play any musical instrument like a pro is super fun and extremely satisfying. You must have watched numerous videos of Eric Clapton, Slash, Django Reinhardt creating magic with their fingers, gasping in awe at the sight of how effortlessly they play the most intricate notes.

To be blatantly honest, at the very beginning, you might not be able to play even the Happy Birthday tune properly on your guitar, forget playing like those legends mentioned above. I couldn’t do it either. The learning curve wasn’t easy for me. I felt my fingers were too small and chubby to play even the most basic chords clearly. My fingertips hurt like hell after 20 minutes of practice.

But here I am, after 15 years of relentless practice and conviction, having the time of my life as a lead guitarist in my own band. The point of saying all these is that- if I, with my chubby hands and nearly zero pain thresholds can do it, so can you.

What to Expect from This Guitar Lessons Session?

I cannot stress enough on the importance of practice. It doesn’t matter if you are into acoustic guitars or want to play heavy metal on electric guitar, knowing the fundamentals is the first and foremost step of learning to play any string instrument. I have received countless emails and personal requests from people who have watched me playing guitar to teach them how to do it. So here I am.

There’s no right age or finger structure for making love to your guitar. You will have your fair share of challenges, It will feel frustrating in the beginning, but that will pass.

In this course consisting of 12 lessons, I will try to cover everything, starting from the basic concepts like the structure of a guitar, how to hold a guitar,names of the strings, how to tune and so on. After that, we will start from the learning the easiest chords and strumming pattern, making sure you are able to play some basic tunes instantly.

I strongly urge you to follow the order of the steps and do not skip any step, even it seems boring. I can almost assure you that by the end of this session, you will be able to play some of your most favorite tunes and make your audience go “whoa”!

Here is the summery of our Guitar Lessons:  

Full Guitar Lessons for Beginners for Free

#1 Parts of a Guitar #2 How to hold the guitar and the pick
#3 Learn Fingers, Strings and fret numbering #4 Guitar string names
#5 How to tune your guitar #6 Learn to read guitar tab
#7 Finger position #8 Learning the basic Guitar  chords
#9 Changing chords #10 Two basic chord progressions
#11 Beginner strumming lessons #12 Let’s play our first song

Guitar Lesson 1: Parts of a Guitar

If you are going to make love to your guitar (figuratively, of course), you need to make sure you know the names and functions of each and every component of a guitar body. In this lesson, I am going to talk about the parts of both acoustic and electric guitars.

While both types share many common parts like head, tuning keys, fretboard, body and neck, the pickups and controls of electric guitars differ hugely from those of an acoustic guitar. We will get into that detail shortly, but before that, let’s throw light upon the common features in both acoustic and electric guitars.

  1. Guitar Head– Imagine you are a right-handed guitarist holding your instrument, the farthest Guitar Head - MrGuitaristpart to the left would be called the head or headstock of a guitar. It is a flat platform where all the tuning keys, tuning pegs are located. In most standard six string acoustic and electric guitars, there are 6 tuners which you can up and down to tune your guitar.

Understanding the shape of the guitar head is important because the way it vibrates will impact the tone of your guitar. Guitar heads attached at an angle to the end of the neck are susceptible to heavy damage if the instrument falls off your hand.

  1. Nut– The nut is where the strings rest before they stretch towards the fretboard from the Guitar Nutheadstock. It is made of plastic, bone, brass, graphite or metal have individual slots for each string.  The nut not only keeps the strings in place but also works as a transmitter of vibration to the neck. How the strings rest on the fretboard also depends on the nut. I personally prefer bone nut as they emulate really well-defined tones on an acoustic guitar.
  1. Neck– The part next to the nut is called the neck of the guitar. The fretboard or fingerboard to glued to the neck. While holding and playing your guitar, your thumb should be firmly placed at the back of the neck.
Guitar Neck
  1. Fretboard- The metal strips running across the fretboard are called frets or fret wires. On the fretboard or fingerboard, you press the strings to create different notes and chords. Just to give you a heads-up, your fingertips should be positioned right beside the fret wire of a particular string to produce clear chords and notes.
Guitar Fretboard

Most acoustic and electric guitar fretboards are made of either Maplewood or Rosewood. While Rosewood is best for creating mellow notes, Maplewood produces a tighter sound.

  1. Fret Markers or Inlay Markers- These fret markers serve two purposes. One, it helps you keep track of where your finger is on the fretboard. The second purpose is merely decorative. If your guitar has 24 frets, the inlays or fret markers will be at fret intervals of 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19,21 and 24.
  1. Body- The kind of material and quality of craftsmanship used in making the body of a guitar guitar Bodyheavily influences the sound quality of the instrument. The first thing you should notice on the body is the pickguard or scratchplate. It prevents you from leaving scratch marks on the guitar body with the pointy end of the pick while you strum.

A sound hole is located right at the middle of the body of most acoustic guitars. The sound comes out from this hole and I often drop my pick in it and cry for 2 minutes for my stupidity.

  1. Acoustic and Electric Guitar Bridge- On both guitars, the bridge on end of the vibrating length of the string (the other being the nut). It transmits vibration to the body which gives a guitar its unique sound. Bridges have individual saddles through which the strings pass before going into the body.

On an electric guitar as well, the strings are anchored to the body via the bridge. However, many electric guitars have tremolo arms which lets you up and down the bridge to quickly adjust the pitch of the strings in order to produce an effect called “divebomb”. The “taooooooooooooo” thing, to be more precise.

  1. Strap Buttons– Your guitar may or may not have a strap button. If you are going to play your Guitar Chords standing, make sure your guitar has it. On end of the body attaches to the strap button and another end has to be tied around the neck (provided that the strap comes with a shoelace on one end).

Apart from the bridge, electric guitars have two other features that differ from its acoustic counterpart. The first being the pickups.

Electric Guitar Pickups- The pickups basically pick up the vibrations from the string and translate it into sound by sending them to the amplifier. The pickup located close to the bridge is called bridge pickup and the one close to the neck is called jazz or rhythm pickup.

Pickups are of two types- humbucker or double coil and single coil. The name humbucker is derived from the phrase “buckingthe hum”, meaning it can reduce the buzz from the guitar, thus creating warmer tones than single coil pickups. The latter produces tighter and brighter notes, making it best suited for playing rock music.

Tone and Volume Control Knobs– While most electric guitars have one Master volume and tone knobs for every individual pickup, many high-end guitars feature individual volume knobs for each pickup as well. These volume knobs basically let you adjust how much volume will come out of your pickups.

If you turn the tone knobs down, they decrease higher frequencies and if you turn them up, those frequencies are restored. Turning it down to 0 will significantly reduce the treble as well as some high mids.

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Guitar Lessons 2: How to hold the guitar and the pick

The way you hold your guitar and the pick will affect a plethora of things. First of all, not doing it properly will easily and quickly evolve into a habit, and it’s safe to say that you’ll have a tough time breaking it. In essence, it’s not very hard, but there are proper ways to do it and there are bad ways most beginners do it. We’re here to help you figure out the former.

A proper way to hold a guitar

There’s no universal way to hold a guitar properly per se – some people like to grip the neck firmly, others like the extra support that a thumb can provide, but that shouldn’t dissuade you one bit. A proper way to hold your guitar might not feel right at the very beginning, but it will help you avoid making drastic mistakes as you progress.

If you are right handed, your left hand (sometimes referred to as the “fretting hand”) should go underneath the neck with your thumb being the only finger left behind (all of your other fingers should be at the fingerboard’s side).

As we’ve mentioned earlier, some people like to grip the neck with the thumb for added stability, but note that this way your finger’s mobility will be somewhat reduced (the thumb locks the hand whereas a floating thumb allows you to move your fingers more easily, for example during solos).

The four fingers aside from the thumb are all supposed to be placed on the fingerboard – not necessarily at the same time, unless you are trying to pull off a chord, for instance.

How to hold the guitar properly

Depending on whether you intend to play your guitar in a seated position or while standing upright, the way you hold your guitar will be different. The main difference is, basically, in the area your fingers and palms will cover.

Holding a guitar while seated

We highly encourage immediate beginners to practice in a seated position – your hands can focus on the actual playing while your knees and thighs will support your guitar.

The first thing you want to do is as follows – find a comfortable chair, preferably without armrests. The reason why you want such a chair is because these arm supports will get in your way (unless your own an electric guitar with very special design, like for example the “Widowmaker”).

It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to use a guitar strap at this point, as both electric and acoustic guitars can be played without one while you are sitting.

Since your thighs will support the bottom of your guitar, your fingers and palms will position more easily in comparison to the scenario where you’d do it while standing upright.

Holding a guitar while standing upright

Guitar players who stand upright will find out that it’s harder to hold a guitar this way. Needless to say, using a guitar strap is not only recommended, but imperative this time around.

Depending on how you adjust the strap’s length, you might have some difficulties adjusting to this method, but it is possible to make it as short as possible, allowing you to hold your guitar with the same ease as if you were sitting.

Simply put, the lower you are holding your guitar (the longer the strap is), the harder it will be for you to actually position your left hand, let alone play. The angle of your guitar will also be sharper this way, which doesn’t necessarily affect your strumming hand (right hand for right-handed players).

How to hold the pick properly

While holding your guitar seems to be harder than holding a guitar pick, that’s not necessarily true. Namely, there are all kinds of guitar picks (they come in all shapes and sizes), so again, finding the way that feels the best for you might be harder than you’d expect.

You’ve probably noticed that most professional guitarists use the same “pick grip technique” – the thumb and the index finger are holding the pick while the other three are completely straight. The pick should fall onto your index finger and face the strings while your thumb should gently press on it. Some guitarists like to bend the ankle on their strumming hand as it provides a boost to strumming accuracy, but that shouldn’t worry you at the time being.

How to hold the guitar and the pick

This feels very uncomfortable to beginners as the muscles in your hand will start to strain, so you’re bound to experience some fatigue.

There is another way which is easier, though, but it will be difficult for you to learn other guitar techniques if you start using it early on, such as palm muting, for example – simply fold your fingers into a semi-clenched fist.

This way you’ll avoid the muscle strains, but do your best to practice the proper way as soon as you start getting the hang of the easier way. In any case, this is, in fact, a proper way to hold your pick if you plan on playing on an acoustic guitar – it’s easier to strum the notes in any case.

Common mistakes of Holding the Pick

There are a couple of mistakes most beginners make which appear as unimportant at the time, but they could severely hinder your progress towards becoming a great guitarist. Some of the most common ones are:

  1. Using your thumb to fret the notes – most beginners feel like this is the easiest way to hold a guitar, as it appears as most natural. The fact is that this way you’ll start to accumulate a wrong kind of muscle memory in your thumb instead of in your other (actual fretting) fingers.
  2. Holding your pick too softly – you might be scared of gripping your pick too tight (because you might “pop” your strings this way), and that’s perfectly normal. Gripping the pick too tight is not recommended in any case, as your arm will become rigid, but holding it too softly will almost always result in it slipping out from your hands.

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Lesson 3: Learn the fingers, strings and fret numbering system

This time we’re going to talk about what happens on the fingerboard – what each finger should be doing, what strings’ names are, after which we’re going to talk about a bit more delicate matter regarding the fret numbering system.

This lesson will be very helpful if you have absolutely no guitar “training”, as it will help you figure out the basics and avoid making bad habits during the earliest stages.

The fingers

Most people know the name of each finger, but again, most beginners struggle to figure out “which fingers goes where” on the fingerboard. This section will help you understand the function of each finger in regard to playing a guitar.

Guitar fingers position

Thumb

Actually, bass guitar players use the thumb to “pop and slap” – traditionally, this finger isn’t used for playing, rather it should support the neck of your guitar. Of course, there’s a special guitar playing style called the “fingerstyle” where a thumb can be used to pluck the E2 string (the thickest one).

So basically, the thumb is the “base” which provides structure and stability to the “playing” fingers. It’s also the only finger on the fretting hand that serves a “passive” function.

Index finger

The index finger is, basically, your primary finger as a guitar beginner – you’ll use it the most until you get comfortable enough to add the other fingers. The index finger is the “initiator” regardless of whether you intend to play chords or standalone notes – the other fingers follow up.

Middle finger

Now, the middle finger is your second most important finger. Use it in combination with your index finger to dish out power chords (or shortened chords). What’s more, beginners tend to use the index and middle fingers to perform hammer-on and pull-off techniques, whereas professionals can opt between that and middle and ring finger.

Ring finger

The ring finger is a bit less flexible if you’re a beginner guitarist – you might feel as if your other fingers will get out of position if you try to place it on the fingerboard. That’s not a cause for alarm, though, as this feeling will go away as you practice and improve.

Pinky

Pinky is, without any doubt, the finger you’ll have the most troubles with. It’s the least flexible finger on a human hand (as we use it for only a number of things), but nevertheless, you’ll want to start using it early on.

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is avoiding to use the pinky finger – some feel uncomfortable, others experience mild pain, but you shouldn’t pay too much heed to these obstacles, as your pinky will be a major weapon in your arsenal of skills later on.

The frets

Frets are, basically, tiny metal-made strips found on the fingerboard of a guitar. By pressing a fret and strumming the corresponding string you’ll get a certain tone from your guitar. Generally, normal guitars have between 22 and 24 frets, although exceptions are possible – certain guitars have only 19 frets while there are some with as much as 27.

Guitar Fretboard Movement

The first fret is the one which is the closest to a guitar’s head (headstock), which is where the counting starts (each fret after is a semitone higher).

The strings

The strings are a very delicate topic, and we’ve decided to stick to the basics so as to not confuse you too much. There are plenty of tunings, as well as different types of strings which you will use once you’ve handled the fundamentals.

Guitar String Names

A normal guitar has a set of 6 strings – E, A, D, G, B, and E1. Most people think that you should count the strings from top downward, but it’s actually the opposite. The thinnest string and the thickest string represent the same note while plucked openly – the “E” note. The only difference is that the latter is several octaves lower.

A string (once plucked) emits vibrations which resound throughout the guitar’s soundbox (or pickups, if we’re talking about an electric guitar).

The way strings are tuned shows us the guitar’s tuning. The standard tuning is E (all the strings are tuned in accord with their names, for example the A string is tuned into the A note), but there are dozens of other tunings – open tunings, drop tunings, and other “standard” tunings. As a beginner, you shouldn’t experiment too much with different tunings as you might easily get confused.

Fret numbering system

The most basic fret numbering system is pretty easy to understand – it uses “numbers” instead of notes’ actual names. For example, the fifth fret of the E string could be labeled as “5” or “A”, depending on which system we intend to use.

Since you’re a beginner, we’re going to describe the numbering system, as it will help you figure out the basics and play your first song in an easier way than the latter.

Now, this system starts with a zero – the “0” is an open string, which basically means that you should pluck it without pressing on any fret. The “1” corresponds to the first fret being pressed – if you remember what we talked about in the “frets” section, the first fret is the one which is closest to your guitar’s headstock. The “2”, “3”, “4”, and up are all a semitone away between each other.

Guitar Figure Position

Here’s a tip which will hopefully help you – the fifth fret of the last string lets off the same tone as the open A string. The same applies to the entire fingerboard as you go downward with the exception of the B string – the fourth fret of the G string corresponds to the open B string.

Conclusion

This was a relatively simple lesson, but a valuable one nevertheless. Naming the fingers is but a first step to understanding the chords and scales later on, and the fret numbering system will immensely help you with reading tablatures and playing your first songs. With that being said, let’s proceed to the next lesson.

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Lesson 4: Guitar string names

Today we’re going to learn the name of each guitar string. Frankly, most beginners don’t think that this is as important as the actual playing and practice, but knowing what you are doing is equally important as actually doing it.

Learning the names of the guitar strings comes right before tuning and learning the names of the notes. In fact, we’re not just going to “name” the strings – we’re going to devise unique means of actually remembering them for good.

Where do we “start”?

Beginners tend to get a bit confused about which string is the “first” one – is it the thinnest or the thickest one? Now, if you have any knowledge about music theory whatsoever, you probably already know that the thinnest string is the “first” string, but the aforementioned misconception is popular for a good reason.

Namely, most guitar tablature programs show us the strings starting at the bottom (the thickest one is usually at the very bottom end). In fact, it’s not just software, sheet music was written with basically the same idea in mind.

So, in a nutshell, the “first” string is “E” – the thinnest string. Don’t be confused when you hear that the thickest string is also called “E”, but it’s sometimes marked as “e”, or “E1” so as to avoid mixing the two terms.

String names

Basically, the string names are E, A, D, G, B, and E1 (or “e”) going from the bottom upward. That means that the thinnest string is called the “E string”, the second-thinnest one is the “B”, and so on, ending with the “e”, or the thickest one.

Guitar string names

Now, when we put it as bluntly as we did, most people would think “So, it’s “E-A-D-G-B-E”, what’s so hard about remembering these six letters?”. Try it out, and you’ll see. The logic behind string names isn’t absurd, but it’s not your average 2nd grade math either, which means that we’ll have to devise our own ways to remember the string names.

Ways to help you remember the names of guitar strings

There are several ways, most of which are relatively obscure, but we can assure you that these ways will help you remember the string names. Let’s have a quick overview of these methods:

Come up with your own phrases

The base rule of this method is that each word has to begin with a letter that corresponds to the first letter of the guitar string’s name. For instance, Elaborate All Debby Gave Before Event. Now, this particular sentence doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but that’s exactly the point – oddities tend to stick in our minds more easily than “heaps of organized files”.

Another thing – you’ll have to do it on your own. What works for your best buddies might not work out for you, as every person has a different mindset, different thought patterns, and we all remember things from our point of view.

Guitar String Names

In order to find the most successful phrase you’ll have to be creative, but most importantly – write it down after you’ve nailed it.

Learn the notes

This method is, without any doubt, several times more difficult than coming up with a phrase. Why is that? Well, there are plenty of notes for you to remember, and if remembering 6 letters seems hard, learning the notes will be a nightmare.

Regardless, we encourage you to give this method a shot – you’ll need to learn the notes at some point, and by doing it while you try to remember the names of the strings you will have killed two birds with one stone. What’s more, once you start to learn the notes, you’ll understand the logic behind the whole thing.

Guitar Fretboard

Namely, the notes begin and end with an “E”, right? Just like the alphabet tells us, after E comes an “F”. So far, so good.  Now, the tricky part is that “G” comes right after “F” in alphabet, but the same can’t be said here – it’s F – F# (F-sharp). By now, we have the open E, an F, and an F-sharp, if we exclude the G that comes right after.

It might seem a bit too hard at the time, but all you have to do is remember the first five notes, as the pattern progresses naturally in two directions from there – the sixth fret on an E string is the same as the first fret on an A string. Which means that the “A#” can be found at both frets.

Which method should you use?

Even though the second method is incomparably harder, we think that it will be worth your while to learn the notes at the earliest stage possible. In essence, the string names represent your starting point for the notes that are next in line, so it’s not all that hard.

On another hand, people who wish to start practicing as soon as possible will often feel pretty bummed about all the theory, in which case the first method appears to be a bit better.

A word of advice, though, doing things in a certain way just because it’s easier is seldom beneficial in the world of guitarists. You’ll be faced with the challenges you aim to avoid anyhow, and in all fairness, it gets harder the more you wait and postpone it.

So, let’s summarize the two methods by which you can remember the names of the string.

Method 1 – Pros:

  • Easy and fun
  • Plenty of room for creativity
  • Great for people with absolutely no knowledge regarding music theory

Method 1 – Cons:

  • Not as reliable as the second method
  • Some people aren’t as creative as others and tend to use the phrases invented by others. This usually doesn’t help.

Method 2 – Pros:

  • Exact and impeccably reliable method
  • Helps you expand your music theory knowledge
  • Next logical step after learning the string names

Method 2 – Cons:

  • Hard to grasp
  • Takes time and patience

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Lesson 5: How to tune your guitar

Now that we’ve learnt the names of the strings, what the basic parts of a guitar are, and such it’s time to learn how to tune your guitar. Before we start, we’ll discuss what a tuning is, what intonation means, after which we’ll proceed to “standard” tuning and the technical part of tuning your guitar.

What does the term “tuning” mean?

Generally, a tuning refers to the pitches of a guitar’s open strings. The machine heads (tuners) on the head-stock of a guitar are used to adjust these pitches, which is basically the tuning process in a nutshell.

The word “tuning” may also refer to a particular form of guitar tuning. For instance, most people are familiar with the standard E-A-D-G-B-E tuning (often referred to as Standard E tuning), but most beginners have never heard about dropped tunings and open tunings. The latter refers to the variations of the standard tuning.

What is “standard” tuning?

The “standard” tuning is called that way because most musicians tune their guitars within the parameters of the, perhaps rightly called, the most convenient E tuning. Therefore, we’ve established that this particular tuning is not only the most popular, but also the easiest in terms of playability – the strings are neither too dense or too loose, so the player gets an all-around experience.

There are numerous “standard” tunings, of course, such as Standard D – you can tune your guitar in this tuning by lowering the pitch of the open strings by two semitones. It’s common knowledge that most people prefer to go “down” (tune their guitars lower when compared to the standard E) rather than “up”. It’s possible, but the playability will suffer in turn.

How often do you need to tune your guitar

Depending on the quality of the tuners and the “freshness” of the strings, you might need to tune your guitar once a week, or once every two days. There are numerous factors that affect how properly a guitar remains in tune, but the strings and machine heads are two of the most important ones. Upgrading your tuners and replacing your strings can significantly help with the issue.

How to tune your guitar?

Tuning your guitar is done by turning the small knobs on the headstock. These “knobs” are called machine gears, machine heads, or plainly tuners.

Essentially, there are three ways by which you can tune your guitar. You could either use a tuner, tune it by ear, or tune your guitar by harmonics (which is, basically, tuning your guitar by ear, but with slight modifications in the method). Let’s see how to do it.

Use a tuner

The tuner is a small device which operates on a battery. It recognizes the notes your guitar makes and gives you a clear overview of which tone you’re playing. There are all kinds of tuners, but some of the finest models usually don’t cost more than $10 – $15. Check some Best Guitar Tuner Apps

All digital tuners are more or less reliable, but you’ll notice that if you use two tuners to tune your guitar, there’s a chance of error (however miniscule). So, how do you use a tuner?

Guitar Tuner

This device should be mounted on your guitar’s headstock. Modern models can swivel, providing you a better field of view. Now, as soon as you placed the tuner on the head, you should turn it on. Some models require several seconds to “warm up”, but most will be ready for use in seconds.

Once you’ve turned the tuner on, pluck the E string (thickest one). Your tuner will tell you how “close” you are to tuning it – usually, the tuner will display a small arc, in most cases the left side will be green and the right side will be red. For as long as your tuner blimps in “green”, you need to turn the knob “up”, as the string in question is in a lower key (and vice versa).

Once you’ve tuned the first string, you have several options at your disposal. Firstly, you can repeat the pattern with the other five strings – pluck and adjust the knobs in accord to what the tuner displays. Your second option is to mix the two tuning methods, as you’ll only need a properly tuned E string to tune your entire guitar by ear.

Alternatively, you don’t even need to have a traditional digital tuner. You can simply download an application on your smart phone and you’ll always have it with you.

Tuning your guitar by ear

This method is seldom recommended for beginners who have underdeveloped sense of “musical hearing”. The reason for that is quite simple – beginner guitarists simply can’t recognize the tiniest details and frequencies, so you’ll often think that you’ve tuned your guitar just fine while, in fact, you didn’t.

Now, even so, you should get acquainted with the method, as it will help you a great deal in the future. As we have mentioned earlier, you’re going to need a properly tuned E string if you want to tune the rest of them. You can listen to songs that are played in E standard tuning, use tablature software to “write” an E note, or any other method at your disposal.

Once you’ve tuned the E string, the process is fairly simple, although it requires patience. The fifth fret of your E string should sound exactly the same as the open A string. The same applies for the, for example, seventh fret of the E string and the second fret of the A string. That means that these fret positions provide the same pitch.

The only exception is the B string, which should be tuned a semitone lower than any other string if you’re using this method.

While relatively complex and delicate, tuning your guitar by ear will help you develop a stronger sense of hearing. Relying on your tuners can be a good thing, especially with that extra punch of accuracy, but you could use this method as an opportunity to further bolster your skills arsenal.

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Lesson 6: Learn to read guitar tab

Let’s move on to something a bit more interesting – guitar tabs. In this lesson we are going to talk about what a guitar tab is, but more importantly, we’ll teach you how to understand all the key features of a tab.

What is a guitar tab?

In essence, a guitar tab (or guitar tablature) is a musical notation which contains finger positions along with all the techniques which are to be used (for example, slides, palm muting, and such). A guitar tab typically has 6 lines while a bass tab has 4 (depending on the number of the strings, naturally).

Guitar Tab

In order to comprehend what a tab truly is, let’s discuss what a tab is comprised of:

  1. Lines – represent the guitar strings
  2. Numbers – represent the finger positions and/or chords
  3. Fractions – represent the time signature (for example 4/4, or 6/4)
  4. Palm mutes and muted notes – basic strumming techniques labelled with either “P.M” or an “X”
  5. Lines with an arrow tip – represent legato slides
  6. Curved or arced lines – represent hammer-ons and pull-offs
  7. Straight lines – represent the end of a tact
  8. Straight lines with two dots – represent the point of repetition
  9. Wiggly lines – vibrato or wide vibrato

Of course, there are other indicators, but these are the most commonly used ones. Tablature programs, such as Guitar Pro for example, have over a hundred features, and understanding them all might take more than a couple of months. As a beginner, you could memorize only the aforementioned nine.

Palm mutes & dead notes

Most tabs you encounter will have palm mutes, dead notes, or both. Basically, these are strumming techniques which are labelled differently – palm mutes are labelled with “P.M” and dead notes are labelled with an “X”.

Palm muting is a guitar technique where certain notes are played at a lower pitch. The player uses the palm of the picking hand to quiet down the vibrations the strings emit.

Guitar palm muting example

Dead notes, or sometimes referred to as muted notes aren’t too much different from palm muted notes. Basically, the only difference is that the notes are even more silent – as much as possible, as a matter of fact.

Bended notes

Bended notes are quite common in virtually all music genres, and an easy way of recognizing them in a tab is as follows – the number indicating the finger positioning will have a curved line with an arrow tip going upward. At the end of the arrow tip you’ll see another number or a text indicating how far the bend is supposed to go. For instance, “full” means two semitones, ½ means a single semitone, and so on.

Learn to read guitar tab

Bend & release, on the other hand, is somewhat less common but still used in certain tabs. When you see a curved line like we’ve just mentioned continuing the path in the opposite direction, you’ll know that this technique is in question.

Sliding

Again, here we have a popular guitar technique called “sliding”. So, essentially, sliding indicates a “fretting shift” where the fretting hand doesn’t move away from the fingerboard – it slides from one note to the other. Frankly, the only difference between sliding and hammer-ons is in that the latter involves hammering the next note while sliding covers the full range of notes between the first and the last.

guitar sliding

Slides are represented by two lines – one is curved and the other straight. The curved line tells you that a slide should be performed within that tact while the straight line represents the direction. A straight line going down is placed when, for example, you should slide down from fifth fret to the third, and vice versa.

Vibrato

Vibrato is a technique which involves bending and releasing the note in rapid fashion. There are two types of vibrato, but both of them are represented by wobbly lines. The normal vibrato will have these lines atop the notes where it should be performed, whereas a wide vibrato will be marked with a thicker, fuller wobbly line.

Vibrato

In case you get confused about this, the lines will go on for as long as the vibrato should be held. If there are several tones you should play with a vibrato, the line will continue on. Vibrato marks are always placed on top of the notes.

Down-strokes and upstrokes

Down-strokes and upstrokes are basically strumming techniques. Downstriking refers to the fretting hand going down on the strings, and vice versa. So, basically downstrokes are represented by an U-shaped sign (a bit rectangular, in fact) while the upstroke is represented by a V-shaped symbol.

Guitar String Downstrokes and upstrokes

Unlike vibrato marks (which are placed on top of the notes), you’ll see the markings for downstrokes and upstrokes below each note that should be fretted in a particular way.

Time signature

In most tabs you’ll see fractions at the very beginning. These fractions represent the time signature of either the entire song, or a part of it. Whenever you see a different fraction mid-way through the song, you’ll know that the time signature has changed.

Guitar Time signature

It’s not uncommon that certain songs have several time signature changes, especially in classical music.

Tempo indicators

Tempo refers to the speed at which the song is supposed to be played. Just like the case with the time signature, the mark is always placed at the beginning of the tab, usually on top of the time signature fraction.

There are two ways by which you can recognize the tempo indicator – it’s either textual, such as intermezzo, moderate, and such, or it’s a number. The first is theoretical in nature while the second indicates BPM, or beats per minute.

Other markings

Musicians have all kinds of habits, so it’s not uncommon to see a special marking unique to the tab you’re looking at in that particular moment. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a tab with nearly all indicators changed – whenever you see something that doesn’t add up, it’s most likely that the musician who made the tab has placed those indicators in order to help himself (or herself) remember a tricky passage.

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Lesson 7: Finger positioning

We’ve got the basics, so what’s next? In this lesson we will talk about finger positioning. If you think that simply placing your fingers on the fretboard will result in riffs, chords, and melodies, you’re in for a good time.

Every finger serves its purpose when it comes to playing a guitar, and we’re here to show you how to properly place them on the fretboard.

How to properly position your fingers

In a nutshell, the thumb provides support, the index usually plays the main notes while the other fingers follow up.

However, the proper finger positioning is not as simple as that. Namely, the situation changes in accord to what you play – shredding and arpeggio techniques require you to line up your fingers in a progressive motion whereas chords should be fretted all at the same time. Let’s see what each finger does before moving on.

Thumb position

If you’re an immediate beginner, you might have had the urge to try fretting a note or two with your thumb. It’s quite normal and common, as this finger is the closest and requires the least amount of motion to press on a fret. However, this is a habit you’ll want to avoid and erase as soon as possible.

The thumb should be used as a support – placing it on the neck will relieve some of the stress you put on your wrist, allowing you to position your other fingers more easily.

Now, you might’ve seen professionals move the thumb from behind the neck to the fingerboard – but what you probably didn’t see is that they don’t use it to press on a fret. Certain fast-paced techniques will eventually urge you to move your thumb from its natural position, and that’s completely fine for as long as you compromise the, now lost, support with the palm of your hand.

Index finger position

The index finger is the first finger you want to get into shape. Most people with an average anatomy have increased flexibility when this finger is in question, which is why beginners tend to fret single notes naturally with it.

Of course, the index finger is also the first to grip a chord – doing it any other way is pretty hard to imagine because your fingers would get on top of each other in the process.

An interesting thing about the index finger is that you can pull off certain chords with it alone. These chords are often referred to as bars or bare chords.

Middle finger position

The middle finger’s position is usually in the middle of a chord – while the index and ring finger prance around, the middle finger is usually in the same spot throughout several chords.

Now, the main function of the middle finger comes out into play for guitarists who like to use the vibrato technique. It’s true that this particular technique can be performed with any other finger, but the middle one just does the job more easily.

Ring finger and the pinky

When it comes to chords, the ring finger and the pinky are either completely passive, or they come last. As for the solo and shredding techniques, you can say that these fingers are the extensions which make arpeggios and other fast-paced techniques easier. As a beginner, you’ll probably want to consider practicing with these fingers last.

A few tips to make finger positioning easier

Now that you have a basic idea of each finger’s function, we’ll provide a couple of tips which will hopefully make it even easier for you.

Make sure your wrist is relaxed

Generally, the main reason why you want to make your wrist feel as relaxed as possible is to Hands Position for playing Guitaravoid stressing your hand and fingers. Beginners usually experience mild pain when they first start to feel the strings out, and it’s easy to accumulate the unnecessary tension

You can perform wrist exercises to get rid of the cramped muscle feeling, or you could pause for several minutes until you feel okay again. The only thing that you need to remember is that tense wrist leads to tense grip – poor accuracy and generally bad-sounding notes are sure to follow.

Curl the fingers before you play a note/chord

By curling the fingers, the notes you play will sound more pronounced. This will come naturally as you practice, but it might be worth your while to pay attention to this detail early on.

Finger position

The main part of your finger which presses down a fret is the fingertip, and there’s simply no better way of positioning it than by curling your fingers.

Keep the fingers as close to the fingerboard as possible

Most beginners focus on nailing down a couple of notes, or even a chord – after that, the fingers are frequently taken off from the fretboard until the guitarist composes himself (or herself) again. While your playing style won’t suffer if you don’t make a habit out of keeping the fingers close to the fingerboard, this will substantially help with your fretting readiness and accuracy.

Rotate the wrist instead of “hunting” the note you want to play

Beginners, especially those who favor practicing songs via tabs, are often in a rush to improve their skills. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to playing is “hunting” the note you want to play.

For example, imagine that you’re playing a power chord on an open E string and the second fret of the A string. Would it feel natural to rush over to the tenth fret of the A string just to play that harmonic you’ve learned yesterday?

Remember, you can play notes in several ways – frets at the 5th position (usually) sound the same as the string below when played openly. Rotating your wrist will save you time, energy, and will help you make a habit of playing notes in the easiest way possible.

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Lesson 8: Learning the basic 7 Guitar chords ( A major, C major,G major, D major, A minor 7, E major and Em (E minor)

What are Guitar chords?

Chords are, essentially, groups of notes played together. Most theoreticians state that a chord should be comprised of at least three notes, although rock and metal musicians would beg to disagree, as they’ve invented a “power chord” which can be played with only two notes strummed together.

Types of Guitar chords

There are different types of chords, but for this lesson we’ve decided to show you how to play the most basic ones, most of which are major. The music theory differentiates major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords. As a beginner, you should know the difference between major and minor chords for start.

Major chords typically sound joyful while minor chords are mellow and somewhat depressing. Technically speaking, a major chord is always comprised of a major 3rd and a perfect 5th, minor chords are comprised of a minor 3rd and a perfect  5th, diminished chords have a minor 3rd and a diminished 5th, and augmented chords have a major 3rd and an augmented 5th.

A major

There are several ways to play the A major chord, but let’s try to simplify this, already simple A Majorchord. For starters, you’ll want to try nailing down this one with only three fingers – your index finger, your middle finger, and your ring finger (we’ll call them 1, 2, and 3 respectively).

Use your index finger to cover the first fret of the E, B, and E1 strings – form a bar chord firmly, or your other fingers might lack the strength to produce accurate sounds. Now that you’ve handled the “1”, let’s proceed to the number “2” – your middle finger.

Basically, you just have to fret the 2nd fret of the G string without losing the grip on the bar chord we just mentioned. Lastly, you’ll have to pull another bar chord over the 3rd fret of the A, and D strings – don’t worry, this bar chord will be significantly easier to grasp and hold.

C major

It’s no wonder you’ve wasted time searching for a C major fingering position online – there’s a C Majorfamous coding program called C sharp, which just happens to be the synonym for this chord. Jokes aside, this chord is relatively harder to pull off when compared to A sharp, but it’s still pretty basic and easy.

Again, start with a bar chord over the first frets of the E1 and G strings, but this time skip the B string. You could press on it as well, but there’s no need to, as your middle finger will press on the second fret on that string.

The reason why we’ve said that this chord is a bit harder than A sharp is because you’ll have to use your pinky as well. Your ring finger is supposed to be placed on the third fret of the D string, and your pinky should fall onto the fourth fret of the A string. Notice that your fingers will be pretty far apart, but don’t feel discouraged if you don’t manage to do it straight off the bat.

G major

We’re moving on up the fingerboard. The G sharp chord begins with a barre chord on the fourth G Majorfret of the E, A, D, and G strings and progresses further with the index finger pressing on the fifth fret of the G string.

Now you might want to practice that particular finger positioning, as what follows isn’t exactly a breeze. Press on the sixth fret of the A string, and follow up with your ring finger on the sixth fret of the D string. So far, so good, right? If you want to break this chord down and play note by note, your number “1” is the bar chord, the number “2” is the fifth fret of the G string, after which the number “3” is the sixth fret of the A string, and your “4” is the sixth fret of the D string.

D major

There are several ways to play the D major chord, but the simplest way is to begin at the third frets on the G and E1 strings. Add your middle finger on the fourth fret of the B string and your pinky on the fifth fret of the D string.

D Maor Chord

Another way would be to play two bar chords – form the first bar chord on the sixth fret of the E, A, and E1 strings, and the second one on the eight fret of the D, G, and B strings.

A minor

To play the A minor chord, play the A string open, press on the second fret of the D and G A Minor Guitar Chordstrings, and press on the first fret of the B string. Alternatively, form a bar chord on the fifth fret of E, G, B, and E1 strings and press on the seventh fret of the A and D strings.

E major

E major is, perhaps, the easiest chord to play. Simply play the E, B, and E1 strings openly, press E Major Guitar Chordson the second fret of the A and D strings, and press the first fret of the G string. If this feels hard for you, feel free to exclude the B and E1 strings (although they are open).

On the other hand, if you think that the first variation of the Emaj chord is too easy, you can try starting on the 2nd fret of the D string, press on the 4th frets of the G and E strings, and end with the 5th fret on the B string.

E minor

This is, without any doubt, the easiest chord in every guitarist’s arsenal. Simply play the E string E-minor Guitar Chordsopenly and press on the second frets of the A and D strings. Alternatively, start at the seventh fret of the A string while holding the same fret of the E1 string. Press on the eighth fret of the B string and the ninth fret of the D and G strings.

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Lesson 9: Changing Guitar chords

Now that you’ve learnt how to play some of the most basic chords, it’s time to put theory into practice. What does “changing chords” mean? Simply put, it means that you’re going to play several chords, one after another. This is definitely the hardest part of your road as a beginner, but once you get the hang of it, there will be no stopping you.

Changing chords – basics

Changing chords means breaking your fingers – you should be as flexible as possible here, as the difficulty of this lesson depends solely on you. Now, we’ve ran over the basic 7 chords, and if we’re to play them together, you should probably invest a week or two of constant practice, as playing them consecutively requires quite a lot of effort.

If you feel confident enough that you can proceed, let’s go straight to the fundamentals of changing chords.

Take it slow

We’ve mentioned several times that beginners usually have the urge to get over the “boring” starting lessons, fueled by rockstar dreams and such. If you really want to master changing chords (let alone more delicate guitar techniques), you’ll need patience. A lot of it.

Take one chord and don’t proceed onto the next until you’ve managed to play it perfectly at least three or four times in a row. After that, take another chord and repeat the process. This might as well be your first exercises which you can upgrade with as many chords as you like – for as long as you remember to take it slow.

Practice consistently, as repetition builds up muscle memory

As a beginner, you’ll mainly rely on your “brain” memory. You probably have a notebook or use your PC to “study” chords and other guitar techniques, but that’s not all there is to “changing chords”. Namely, most professional guitarists will tell you that they know over hundreds of chord variations by “heart” – we’re talking about muscle memory.

For as long as you practice, this muscle memory will grow. This means that you’ll have to “think less while achieving the same goals”.

If you miss out on a day or two of practice, you’ll probably have to consult with our “Basic Chords Lesson” while trying to remember which finger goes where. If you miss out on a week or two, you’ll have to take another step back. By practicing constantly, you will manage to actually remember more and more chords, which will make the entire “changing chords” part substantially easier.

Don’t be afraid to try different finger positioning

If you remember our previous lesson, most chords can be played in several ways while still sounding the same (although in a different key). You will end up “breaking your fingers” in a metaphorical sense if you try to do everything by the book.

You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and try out different finger positioning, as certain ways of fingering the chords will either feel more comfortable or natural.

Practice your timing – get a metronome

No matter how talented you are, most beginners have a sloppy chord changing technique. You’re likely to play some chords faster (the ones you’ve practiced for countless hours) and some slower (the ones that you didn’t particularly like), so if you really get your chord changing technique into shape, we suggest that you buy a metronome.

This is, basically, a small device that emits ticks in regular intervals with pinpoint accuracy. You can customize the speed of beats-per-minute yourself, but we suggest that you don’t go faster than 80 or 90 for start. Later on, you can go as far as 120 beats per minute, or even higher.

Basic chord changing exercises

There are a couple of exercises we would like to recommend to you. All of them aim to help improve your technique, reduce the sloppiness, and increase your fretting accuracy.

1.  Time attack

During this exercise you’ll try to pull off as many pre-determined chords as possible. Pick out two, maybe three chords that you feel familiar with and get a timer. Set the time somewhere in between thirty seconds and one minute and start.

Either count the number of chords you managed to play during the time gap or ask a friend to do it for you. Write the number down, as it will be your personal high score. You can customize this exercise further by adding more chords or by reducing (or adding) the time. The point is that you’ll have a score which you should aim to beat on a daily basis.

2.  Tempo shift

For the previous exercise you needed a timer, and now you will need a metronome. If you don’t Tempo shiftknow how to download a metronome app and if you don’t have one at home, installing a tablature software might help, as most modern programs have them.

Now, this exercise branches off in two variations – you’ll need a friend to help you out either way. First, set a pre-determined tempo and try to stick with it for as long as possible. If you manage to pull off five (or more) chords, you can say that this exercise is completed successfully.

Now, the second part of this exercise is trickier. Teach your friend how to use a metronome if he (or she) doesn’t know already, and instruct him (or her) to change the tempo at random intervals. For instance, you will play at 90 beats per minute for approximately 10 seconds, then you’ll slow down the pace at 60 beats per minute for 8 seconds after which you can speed up to 100 beats, and so on.

Note that both of these exercises are meant to be as hard or as easy as you want them to be. If you want to improve, don’t stick with the pattern for too long – add additional elements, pick up the pace, and add as many chords as possible once you start to get a hang of it. Remember, whenever it starts to feel easy, it’s time to change the level of difficulty.

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Lesson 10: Two basic chord progressions

Now, in this lesson, we are going to learn all about the chord progression and everything that goes with it. For starters, you should know that there are more than just two chord progressions when it comes to guitar playing.

Besides that, as a beginner, you really don’t need to worry about learning all the chord progressions since you probably wouldn’t be even able to master them all. In that light, let’s talk about the two basic chord progressions that you can start with.

Let’s start with the basics, and later on, we will discuss everything that you need to know about two basic chord progressions.

About Chord Progression in General

In order to learn about basic chord progressions, you first need to know what exactly a chord progression is. Anyhow, a chord progression is also known as a harmonic progression and it indicates the succession of musical chords.

This succession of musical chords is usually made out of the two or more notes that are sounded simultaneously. So, this means that chord progression actually is a set of tones and notes that are played simultaneously in order to make music.

To understand this stuff better, you should also know that chord progressions are one of the main foundation of Westren popular music styles and genres. Since there are lots of different genres and styles in today’s music work, we can come to a conclusion that chord progressions are the defining feature that describes the melody and rhythm in the songs.

Learn the Basics

The most important thing to understand when it comes to chords is that they can be built upon any note that can be found on a musical scale. This means that a seven-note scale will have seven basic chords. Also, we should mention that a chord that is built upon the G note is actually a G chord that belongs to the same type.

So, a chord progression actually is quite complex, but, everyone can learn about it and master it after some time.

Two Easy Guitar Chord Progressions for Beginners

First of all, you need to tune your guitar perfectly. Don’t even start learning about the chord progression if your guitar is even slightly out of tune. You will actually need to work with both your hands and your ears in order to learn these chord progressions. So, let’s start.

It is recommendable to start with the ‘’first position’’ or so called ‘’open chords’’. This is especially good for beginners since these chords are quite close to the nut and they utilize a regular number of strings. You will actually be able to learn the basics with these chords in no time. Also, remember that the best chords to play when you are in the learning process are Em, C, G, and D.

The next chord that you need to learn in order to fully master chord progression is the C minor Two basic chord progressionschord. Now, this chord is easy to play since you only need to strum the top five strings that are actually making the highest-sound. It goes like this.

Now, when practicing this exact chord, you should definitely have these next few things on your mind.

  • The notes of the chord should be played individually. This means that you need to make sure that all the notes are perfectly clear and that they sound crisp and loud.
  • When practicing these chords, you should switch between them and keep a steady beat and rhythm. The goal is to keep playing and not to stop. Switching chords while playing will definitely help you to learn these chords in no time.

After you learned how to hit these chords, you are now ready to learn about chord progression.

Chord progression and roman numerals

If you’re interested in music theory, the chord progressions and their natural order can be easily understood by implementing the roman numerals system:

For major key chord progressions, the numerals are as follows:

I – Major

ii – minor

iii – minor

IV – Major

V – Major

vi – minor

vii*- diminished

For minor key chord progressions, the numerals are as follows:

i – minor

ii – diminished

III – major

Iv – minor

v – minor

VI – major

VII – major

Chord Progression in a major key – C

Basically, this is one of the easiest chord progressions you could practice if you’re not too fond of repetition (an easier example would simply be C-Dm-C-Em, played in a loop). The C Major chord progression starts off with a C chord, progressing into D minor, onto E minor, later at F, G, A minor, and ending with the B diminished chord. To put it simply, it would go like this: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim.

Chord progressions in a major key are in no way harder to play than chord progressions in a minor key, although the finger positions are relatively less demanding, in a sense. That’s just one of the reasons why you should start with this exercise before proceeding to the next example.

Chord Progression in a minor key – Am

Since A minor is one of the easiest and most versatile chords, we’ll use it as a base for our next chord progression exercise. Basically, you should start off with the Am, than continue with a diminished B chord, later onto the C and D minor, progressing further into E minor, F, and ending with a G. So, it would look like Am, Bdim, C, Dm, Em, F, and G.

This is a popular chord progression which could not only serve as a good exercise, but you’re bound to learn at least a dozen songs this way.  Essentially, the only difference between the chord progression sequence found in the minor keys and the major keys can be seen in their order. The similarity, on the other hand, is that both chord progression systems are comprised of three Majors, three minors, and a single diminished chord group.

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Lesson 11: Beginner strumming lessons

We’re nearing to the stage where you will be able to play your very first song. This lesson will help you improve your strumming technique, where we will talk about what strumming is in general, the difference between the strumming and the fretting hand, after which we’ll go over a few easy exercises.

What is strumming in general?

The word “strumming” refers to the most basic guitar playing technique. It refers to plucking the strings with your strumming hand, and there are several ways by which you can do it (which we mentioned in the previous lessons). Downstrokes refer to strumming down the strings, upstrokes refer to the opposite, and there’s the palm mute technique which refers to strumming the strings a bit more silently.

Difference between a strumming and fretting hand

The strumming hand is your right hand if you’re a right-handed person while the fretting hand is the one which presses the frets, it’s quite self-explanatory. While strumming is naturally performed with the hand which is holding a pick, there are certain techniques where this does not apply – for instance, hammer-ons, pull-offs, sliding, and tapping techniques produce notes without the use of the fretting hand.

Difference between a strumming and fretting hand

Strumming symbols used in tabs

There are three symbols you need to remember – the inverse “U” stands for a downstroke, the “V” stands for upstroke, and the “P.M” stands for palm muted notes. You might encounter “X” shaped symbols which refer to dead notes, but you won’t need it for the exercises we’ve prepared for you.

Strumming symbols used in tabs

Strumming exercises for beginners

The beginner strumming exercises you’ll see below will help you master the most basic strumming techniques – upstrokes, downstrokes, and palm muting. Keep in mind that these exercises are meant for immediate beginners and players who have the least bit of strumming knowledge.

1.       Downstroke strumming

Ideally, you should use only the open E string for start. Strum down the string four times in regular intervals using fourth notes (1/4). Repeat this a couple of times before it starts to feel natural. You will probably get bored pretty quickly, so spice it up by breaking fourths into eights without changing the tempo.

Again, when this starts to feel natural and cozy, try picking up the pace a bit by some 5-10 beats per minute. Continue speeding up the tempo until you’ve reached a point when you need to strain your brain to keep up with the metronome.

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the downstroke strumming technique on an open string, try doing it while pressing onto different frets. For example, start with four fourths on an open E string, than play four notes on the 3rd fret of the E string, four notes on the 5th fret of the E string, and four notes on the 7th fret of the E string. Always try to practice with either 4/4, 8/4, 12/4, or 16/4.

The last part of this exercise involves two strings. Play the first 8 notes like in the previous part of the exercise, and instead of pressing onto the 5th fret of the E string, press the 3rd fret of the A string, and finish up with the 5th fret on the A string. You could repeat the entire exercise with upstrokes instead of downstrokes.

Ideally, you should try out each string to feel how they vibrate, but that’s the part where we talk about accuracy, and not strumming in general.

2.       Downstrokes and upstrokes

Downstrokes feel easier than upstrokes, more natural, which is just one of the reasons why this exercise is somewhat harder.

Just like in the previous exercise, begin with an open string. Pluck it with a downstroke, than with an upstroke, and follow the pattern until you’ve gotten it right several times. Make sure to alternate between downstrokes and upstrokes 1-for-1, as any other way will eventually confuse you.

The second part of this exercise involves open E and open A string. Pluck the E string with a downstroke and the A string with an upstroke. Repeat until you feel like you can proceed.

For the third part of this exercise, use an open E string and the 3rd fret of the A string while everything else should remain the same – downstroke E, upstroke A. This should help improve your hand coordination.

The last part of this exercise involves fretting both E and A strings. You’ll notice that it’s harder to alternate between downstrokes and upstrokes while you focus on pressing the right frets. This part will require a bit more time and concentration, but it will help you improve both your fretting and your strumming accuracy.

3. Palm mutes

The last strumming exercise is based on palm muted notes. Now, in order to properly mute the strings with your palm, you should adjust your strumming hand’s position if you didn’t pay attention to our first lessons – the thumb and the index finger should hold the pick while your other fingers should be extended towards the floor.

To palm mute, place your palm on the strings and let it gently fall in its most natural position. You should pivot your hand a bit until you find the correct spot. Now that you know how to palm mute, let’s get straight to the exercise.

Since palm muting is easier if you do it on fretted notes, we will skip the open strings part. Press on the notes you feel most comfortable with (for example, 1st fret of the E string and 3rd fret of the A string). Pluck the strings a bit until you no longer need to focus on your fretting arm.

Now, without pausing focus on your strumming hand. Pivot it back and forth until you can maintain the palm muting position without losing your fretting accuracy. This should be enough to get you going, but if you manage to handle this exercise relatively quick, you can add more notes to the chain – each note will significantly increase the difficulty of this exercise.

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Lesson 12: Let’s play our first song!

We’re done with the basics – by now you have all the knowledge necessary to use the fundamental guitar techniques, so it’s safe to say that you are ready to play your very first song. Since you already have what it takes, you should consider this lesson as a guide, rather than instructions.

Step 1 – pick an easy song

Most guitarists have taken up their instrument in hopes that the first song they’ll play will be the one that inspired them to actually buy the guitar. Sadly, this is hardly the case – the awe-inspiring solos and slick riffs require years of experience. That’s the reason why your first song should be an easy one.

Ideally, pick a song with repetitive chords or riffs where guitars are pronounced (for an example, most people start off with “Smoke on the water”). Additionally, this song shouldn’t be too fast-paced, as playing along the song is much harder than playing with a metronome.

Lastly, you should avoid songs which were composed in odd tunings – open, dropped, or exceptionally low tunings such as, for example A standard.

Step 2 – recognize the chords, or at least the tuning

Now that you’ve selected the song you want to play, it’s time to put your hearing to the test. Believe it or not, you’ve completed a series of exercises by now and your sense of “musical” hearing has developed in turn.

Guitar Chords Chart

If you have indeed picked an easy song, recognizing the chords shouldn’t be too much of an issue for you. In the case that you can’t figure out which chords are used, just find a YouTube video and look at the guitarist’s fingers. Even if you can’t see the fingers, you should be at least capable of figuring out the tuning.

Step 2* – find a tab

In case that you can neither recognize the chords or find a proper video online, you have to rely on tablatures. There are online sites which specialize in hosting guitar tablatures which could either be downloaded or browsed directly, such as Ultimate Guitar for example.

Step 3 – re-tune your guitar

Even if you have followed our advice in regard to tuning your guitar, there’s a chance that the song you’ve picked isn’t in the Standard E tuning. If that’s the case, use a tuner and re-tune it. The best case scenario is that both your guitar is still in tune and the song you’ve picked is in the E standard, in which case you can skip this step.

Step 4 – break the song into fragments and learn how to play each one separately

Since all things are in order so far, you should break down the song you’ve picked into several smaller fragments. Most songs start off with an intro riff, after which comes the verse, an optional passage, than refrain, then it’s verse again, the second refrain, and the end. Of course, there are songs that are comprised of a single riff, but the chances are that you didn’t pick out a song that features a single chord.

In the best case scenario where the song actually has only one chord progression, break it into chords and play them separately. Harder songs have different lines for each passage.

Step 5 – play the first two fragments, than add the third, and so on

The easiest songs which are comprised of a single riff have at least one chord progression. Play the first two chords and repeat them until you can play them by heart. Once you feel comfortable enough to proceed, play the third and fourth chord in the same fashion and continue doing so until you’ve completed the entire progression.

If the song you’ve picked is neither too easy or too hard, you’ll have to deal with several chord progressions, to say the very least. Once you’re done with the first, take some time and stay focused until you’ve learnt the second, the third, and as many progressions the song features.

Step 6 – close the tab, shut the song off, play it in its entirety by yourself

Now that you’ve come so close to the finishing line, it’s time to test yourself. Close the tab and pause the song – try playing it from the beginning to the end. Even if you fail to remember certain parts, that’s completely alright, as it happens even to the best of guitarists. The key here is to remain persistent and to finish what you’ve started.

To check if you’ve done it properly, unpause the song and try to play along. You’ll notice that it’s easier with the backing instruments, but even so, you’re now skilled enough to play a song. Congratulations, you can now consider yourself as a proper guitarist!

You’ve learned how to play a song – what now?

The road to become a great musician is a long one, and it’s safe to say that the more you know, the more you’ll have to learn. Playing your very first song is a huge step forward, and it’s up to you to decide which path you’ll take to improve your skills – you’ve got the basics down, but there’s still plenty of things that await you.

After learning your first song, the second will fall at least twice as easy, and by the time you’ve picked out your third song you’ll probably be able to master it within a couple of hours, if not less.

Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The songs you learn to play will appear more difficult as you practice and get more skilled. You’ll start to notice details you otherwise didn’t (or couldn’t) – these details are usually techniques you are still unfamiliar with.

We’ve given you the know-how regarding the basics of strumming, fretting, finger positioning, chords, and chord progression, so the next logical step would be to move on to the advanced level. Hammer-ons, pull-offs, sliding, vibrato, tapping, fingerstyle, shredding, divebombs – these are all advanced-level techniques which await you on your way of becoming a great guitarist.

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Best guitar tuner app : 20 best guitar tuner apps for Android and iOS

Best guitar tuner apps for Android and iOS

Since the early 2010s, applications for mobile can also turn it into a tuner for the guitar. As a result of which, the smartphones can display and detect the pitch of the musical notes. The tuner applications can be used for a wide range of other musical instruments as well. The conversion of smartphone, PC, and tablet into a tuner is achievable in a smooth manner due to the software applications. In the earlier version of the smartphones, the microphone was utilized for the tuning purpose of the guitar. However, since the inception of the guitar tuner apps have made the task easier as they are much better than the microphones. It is extremely beneficial to have a tuner, and the string instrument player would recommend the same. Here below is a list of a few of the best guitar tuner app for your IOS and Android.           

Best guitar tuner app for android

Chromatic Guitar Tuner

Chromatic Guitar Tuner : Best guitar tuner apps for Android and iOSChromatic Guitar tuner is considered one of the best guitar tuner app available for smart devices. The app offers tuning precision of the professional level. It even includes a digital tuning fork for those who have a set requirement of it. This app is ideal for Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Ukulele, Banjo. It works well with other musical instruments too such as Acoustic bass guitar, Electric bass guitar, Violin, Cello, Piano, and many more. It simply uses the microphone of the smart device for its functioning. One can use various modes available in the app for the tuning of the instruments such as Chromatic tuner mode, Pitchfork, Tuning presets, Automatic mode and several others. It features a good functionality and splendid interface. get Chromatic Guitar Tuner app at Play store

Rating: 4.5/5

Boss Tuner

Boss TunerThe trusted chromatic tuning technology of BOSS is now available for Android devices as well. It hosts the display style of the TU-3/ TU-3W pedal tuner. It is simple to use, has the features of multiple tuning and pitches for audible references. This application is available as a free download from the play store. This app is suitable for a wide range of musical instruments apart from guitars such as bass, ukulele, cello, violin, brass and plenty more. It is user-friendly as it offers the feature of hands-free chromatic tuning. For a better view, it supports horizontal screen. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Cifra Club Tuner

Cifra Club TunerCifra Club Tuner is completely free to download. It is compatible with the tablet as well as a smartphone. It is a good app for the beginners as on the interface it shows string by string so that one does not blow their strings. The app is not limited to just beginners, as by using the help of chromatic mode, the intermediate, as well as a professional person, can use the app. The newer version supports the android wear too, making it extremely user-friendly. It supports Guitar, bass, acoustic guitar and even cavaquinho.

Rating: 4.4/5

Fender Tune

Fender TuneFender Tune by Fender is a guitar tuner app which is free to download. It boasts 26 different types of tunings for electric guitars, bass, ukulele, and acoustic. It may be a basic tuner app, but its DSP algorithm detects the low-frequency pitches in an efficient way which results in the tuning done in a fast way. The algorithm provides enhanced pitch detection for a smooth and fast tuning experience. The app features three modes of Auto-Tune Mode, Chromatic Mode, and Manual Tune Mode. Moreover, video and illustrated tips show the different tuning aspects and many more.

Rating: 4.4/5

Guitar Tuna

Guitar Tuna The app is one of the fastest, easiest and accurate tuner applications. It is very user-friendly, making it easy to use. Guitar Tuna works with acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, cello, bass, ukulele, fiddle, banjo, and plenty of other string instruments. The app works with the built-in microphones, and for tuning, there is no need of cables. It is suitable for the beginners as well as the professionals. The application works so smoothly and in a fine way because of the advanced audio recognition algorithm.  It offers professional accuracy for the advanced players.  It also offers the auto-tune, customization options, advanced tuning options, and a chromatic tuner as well. More than 100 tunings are available in the application, making it suitable for the intermediate players as well. It hosts background noise cancellation technology, and as a result of which, it can work well in noisy areas.

Rating: 4.8/5

DaTuner (Lite!)

DaTuner (Lite!)DaTuner ensures that every purpose of guitar tuning is sorted out and available to the user. The app has the design of a very simple interface but is extremely precise and utmost responsive, making it one of the best guitar tuner app available in the market.  It has the feature of converting the fundamental frequency to the closest errors and notes for the easier and efficient tuning of the guitar. It supports various musical instruments such as violin, bass, cello, piano, harp, saxophone, harmonica, and many more. The display is bright, as a result of which it is easy-to-read. It has a feature of Auto-sensitivity as well. One can reference the frequency adjustment for orchestra tuning and can be manually adjusted, or another reference can listen. On the achievement of the proper tuning, the screen turns to green.

Rating: 4.4/5

gStrings

gStringsgStrings application is a chromatic tuner and is used to measure the sound pitch and intensity. It features various customization options along with a dial-style tuner. The customization options include microphone sensitivity settings, themes and many more. The application can tune with a wide array of instruments such as guitar, piano, bass, violin, and others. It is a simple app, making it user-friendly and it was one of the first application of guitar tuning that got a good reputation. It is relatively inexpensive and simple to use. The application has a long list of built-in temperaments such as Pythagorean, comma, meantone, etc. It also supports orchestra tuning whose features include redefining as well as shifting tone frequencies. User-defined custom tuning is another feature which is suitable for the users.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pano Tuner

Pano TunerThe design of the Pano Tuner features an old school dial-tuner. The app features microphone sensitivity settings along with frequency adjustment, and it supports the tunings which are not standard. With the help of the tuner app, the guitar gets tuned in just a few seconds. The instrument can get accurately tuned as a result of the offset from the pitch. The app is very quick and features sensitive response. Pano Tuner is a chromatic tuner, and it follows the pitch that the instrument makes.  There also is a feature which allows the user to modify the sensitivity so that the instrument can be tuned more accurately. For the harmony, tunings which are not standard are also there. One can add their own temperaments so that the chords can be in more consonance.   

Rating: 4.6/5

Pro Guitar Tuner

Pro Guitar TunerPro Guitar Tuner is a well reputed and popular guitar tuner app. It also has its own website, enabling the users to use it from the computer as well. The app is a chromatic tuner, and it supports various non-stringed instruments and a wide range of stringed instruments. Apart from the built-in microphone, the app has the feature to listen and analyze sound from guitar clip on, headset or any other external microphone. This app is of high preference for the musicians, guitar repair shops, and professional guitar makers. The app includes high-quality samples of real instruments. Pro Guitar Tuner hosts a vast library of tuning for various instruments like guitar, mandolin, bass, violin, ukulele, and even the unusual ones like a balalaika.

Rating: 4.5/5

Smart Chords & tools

Smart Chords & toolsThis is an all-in-one app as it meets the requirements of the instrument players and the wide range of features offered. The app is suitable for the beginner as well as professional. It offers an extensive range of chords and fingering options, and it also integrates several interlocking tools. The tools include Scales, Metronome, Arpeggios, Reverse Chord Finder, Transposer, Virtual Instrument, Musical Audio Video, Setlist, Tuner and many more. A wide range of string instruments such as Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, the specific chords, notes, the particular chords, are acoustically and visually presented. This app is preferred because it contains almost all the chord types and fingering possibilities.

The app can be used for other instruments as well such as banjo, bass, ukulele, bass and others. There is an inclusion of more than 350 predefined tuning in the app. Left and right-handed people can use it quite well, and comfort features are available such as search, filter, and sort.  It hosts a precise Chromatic tuner, and as a result of that, it supports all instruments and their tuning. Moreover, precise tone determination is in every frequency change.  All these features have enabled this application to cement its place as one of the best guitar tuner app.

Rating: 4.7/5

Airyware Tuner

Airyware TunerThis app is one of the popular ones as it is a professional chromatic strobe tuner. The app got high recognition among the musicians when it got launched and is of recommendation by the professionals. Airy-ware Tuner is powered by the 64-bit NeatTimbre DSP engine, ensuring smooth performance. It features linear needle meter, tuning mode of true strobe, ambient noise reduction, high-contrast display, custom Railsback curve definition, tempered note audition, waveform inspector, and plenty others. Customization features are also provided such as customizable temperaments, sweeteners, stretched tuning for the better user-friendly experience.

The app can help tune more than 400 orchestral instruments which include violin, flute, piano, bagpipe, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, veena, cello, harmonica, church organ, ukulele, bass, banjo, guitar, mandolin, etc. Professional piano tuners and luthiers also use this app. For the best sound quality, this tuner app is more utilized by various professional musicians.  Airyware Tuner is efficient, accurate and fast.   

Rating: 4.5/5

These were few of the top guitar tuner applications for Android.

Guitar Tuner applications for IOS

When it comes to IOS, things can change as it is a completely different platform. Here are some of the best guitar tuner app for IOS.

VITALtuner

VITALtuner apps for iosVITALtuner has a custom tuning engine which can cover a wide range of pitches with professional accuracy. It can also be thought of as universal tuner for all the musical instruments as the tuning design is of high level. It features four unique tuning modes which are suitable for any kind of musical setting. The four modes are the advanced mode, Easy mode, Bright mode and stage mode. Each of them has their unique features to ensure the smooth moment and efficient tuning. The app offers 130 alternate and standard tuning for more than 40 musical instruments. There are even guide notes which can help one to tune. It offers other features such as transposition, sweeter tunings, temperaments, pitch generator, peak meter, instrument tunings, SPL meter, etc. Get the App at App Store

Rating:  4.3/5

Cleartune

CleartuneThis app is a very famous chromatic tuner. Cleartune uses a built-in microphone of the device to accurately and efficiently tune the instrument. The app also features an interface which has a unique ‘note wheel’ that allows the person to find the pitch quickly.

Along with that, it is paired also with a high responsive fine-tuning meter to get the right tune. The app can be used for various musical instruments such as acoustic and electric guitar, woodwinds, brass, piano, bowed strings, as well as other instruments that can sustain a tone. The app is simple enough so that even a beginner can use it, but it packs more power and features for the professionals. It offers support for custom temperaments, adjustable calibration, transposition, solfège, etc. It features note wheel display, needle damping option, selectable temperaments, user-defined notations and temperaments, automatic note reference calibration, selectable tone waveform, ultra-responsive tuning response, etc.    

Rating: 4.0/5   

Chords & Tabs


Chords & TabsThis app enables a person to learn their favorite songs. One can explore the bass, guitar, and ukulele chords, tabs and lyrics of over 800,000 songs.  One can always switch to the left-handed mode quite easily. With the help of metronome, the right tempo is achievable. The other features include offline access to the favorite tabs, a compilation of favorite tabs in the playlist. With the help of the personal tab, it is easier to edit chords, change tabs, lyrics, for the set requirements. It offers the users the feature of setting up the font style and size of the tab as per their desire and can enjoy dark mode as well. That is why it is often regarded as the best guitar tuner app for IOS.

Rating: 4.8/5

iStroboSoft 

iStroboSoftThis software tuning application is trusted widely by the professionals. It is extremely accurate and offers a high level of precision. It has a standby mode to reduce battery usage. iStroboSoft has a speed control for the strobe display as a result of which, it can dampen the response for a longer note display.

Along with that, offers more than 12 temperaments which the user can control. All the sharp notes are easily displayed. It has a feature of ALND which is helpful in capturing even low frequencies. The app offers an unmatched level of accuracy because of the real-time strobe display. The octave/note window displays the correct octave and note.

There are two modes, auto and manual mode to meet the suitability of the user. If the note is very from the target position, then the sharp indicators will assist in that. It has a feature of the noise filter. On the utilisation of clip-on tuning device or an external microphone, the noise filter is helpful in the reduction of the environmental noise.  It has other modes of namely, calibration mode and drop/capo mode. Calibration mode enables the app to calibrate to an external source, and capo mode will help the auto-transposing notes down or up to one complete octave. The app has a feature of full-screen mode which permits the strobe display to for maximization on screen for better viewing experience from a distance.

Rating: 4.6/5

Yousician

Yousician App for IOSThe beginners widely use this application as the app kills two birds with one stone. Along with the tuner, it also offers the step by step tutorials for learning to play the guitar, bass, ukulele and even piano. The app has the feature of letting you play, listening to it and then gives the relevant feedback. This application is perfect for guitarists, pianists, ukulele & bass players. Everyone from beginners to advanced musicians can take the help of this app to get the fruitful results.

Rating: 4.4/5

Cadenza: Tuner + Metronome 

Cadenza: Tuner + Metronome app for iosThe app is widely used by a lot of musicians across the globe. Cadenza has a very accurate tuner, pitch pipe and a versatile metronome. The usage of this app is on a frequent level as a rehearsal tool. It does not matter if one is a beginner or a professional as this app is suitable for the fulfillment of the various requirements. This app has an extremely friendly user interface. It hosts landscape and portrait mode, which makes it easier to suit the viewing experience. The app is highly accurate and has the feature of transposition.

Moreover, it has a scientific/solfège and flat/sharp notation. It provides clear and loud metronome sounds as well as inertial scroll wheel to change the tempo. In the pro version, it has additional features such as metronome presets, tap tempo, pitch pipe, metronome flash, tuner sound back for a better experience. The app allows the user to change the color themes for the personalized user interface. It also hosts a sequencer.

Rating: 4.8/5

Tuner Lite

Tuner Lite by PiascoreThis app avails the use of the built-in microphone for accurately tuning the instrument. The app is a well known chromatic tuner and pitch pipe. Various instruments like acoustic or electric guitar, piano, tympani, bass and various other instruments. It supports various features such as transposition, custom temperaments, etc. With the help of spectrum power indicator, one can understand the sound more intuitively. The app has additional features of needle meter display, and moreover, ultra-responsive 50 cents range fine tuning display. The LED display makes it easier for the user to understand the low and high sound. It hosts Pitch Pipe/Tone generator as well. It also provides the feature of automatic reference note calibration. One can change the wallpaper as well as per the requirement. 

Rating: 4.4/5         

insTuner Free

insTuner FreeinsTuner is a chromatic tuner. As a result of which, It helps the user to tune the musical instruments quickly and accurately. It is a very accurate app because it hosts an advanced DSP algorithm. That makes it easier to use the app. It has a large display, and as a result of which, one can tune the instrument without facing any difficulties. The app boasts of a unique ‘fixed’ note wheel, due to which the position of the detected pitch is easy to find. The app supports various musical instruments such as acoustic or electric guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, woodwings, etc. Other than that, any instrument that can sustain a tone, with ease is tuneable with this app.

The app supports Built-in Microphone as well as Line-in Mode. It supports Clip Microphone as well. It hosts a fine tuning mode which has with highly responsive tuning meter to ensure the perfect tuning. The Historical curve mode will show the tuning results over the time, which can prove to be quite useful to the player. The real-time audio analysis is achievable by Real-time spectrogram mode. For the transposing instruments, there is a feature of customizable transposition.

Rating: 4.6/5

 

Guitar tuner app plays a vital role in this modern musical scenario. It lets the user tune the guitar. There is a wide range of tuner applications available for both Android and IOS platform. That makes it even more difficult to choose a single application. The requirement of the user should be taken into consideration and after proper research, should an app be used. The features offered on some of the guitar tuner apps are highly advanced, and that is why even the professional musicians across the world have been taking the help of guitar tuner applications. It is advisory that only after the thorough checking of the features offered by the apps, the installation of them. Weighing of pros and cons is important before using a tuner for getting the best results.

Zoom H4N Pro Digital Multitrack Recorder Review – [MUST READ]

Zoom H4N Pro Review

If you are a music lover and are associated with song, music and the like, then you will most certainly have some idea about digital multitrack recorder. Multitrack record also known by its acronym MTR has been around since 1955. It is a technology that allows separate recording of various sound sources. The sounds and music could have been recorded at different times and then they could be merged together to form a cohesive and meaningful music.

MTRs have evolved with time and today digital technology has revolutionized the way in which different sounds and shades of music are blended together, though they could have occurred or may have been recorded at different points of time. While there are many such multitrack recorders in the market today, it makes lot of sense to know something more about Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder. It is considered to be one of the best in the market today and therefore we will go through the above digital multitrack recorder in some detail for the benefits of our readers. They will be able to take an objective buying decision based on the factual information which is being shared below.

Zoom H4N Comes With Some Excellent Features

To begin with the digital multitrack recorder comes from the stables of Zoom. They have a good track record of offering some of the finest multitrack recorders and they have changed and evolved with times. Keeping in line with this rich history, this model # Zoon H4N has quite a few worth-mentioning features. While it may not be possible to list down each one of them, we will talk about a few of them over the next few lines.

  • It comes with high quality X/Y onboard mics. It is quite easy to set up and you can choose the preferred recording with ranging from 90 degrees to 120 degrees.
  • It also has two high quality TRS/XLR inputs. This can easily connect microphones, line level devices and various other instruments.
  • The recording capabilities of this multitrack recorder are also quite good and it offers 24 bit/96 kHz recording.
  • It has quite a few interesting and customer friendly extended capabilities. The built in effects are comparable to the best in the market today. Further it also has a good audio interface mode. It also comes with on board speaker.
  • There are a number of accessories which include 2 AA batteries, plastic case, manual and Cubase LE.
Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder Price on Amazon

Zoom h4n pro Technical Specifications

The overall weight of the recorder is around 9.9 ounces and therefore it is quite lightweight. It has an overall dimension of 6 inches x 2.5 inches x 1 inch. It works on 2 AA batteries and the same are included in the whole package. It comes with 2 inputs and has the best of X.Y stereo facilities. It operates on a phantom power range of +12/+24 and +48. The battery life is around 6 to 10 hours after which it has to be recharged. It also comes with 2/2 in and out USB audio interface. It however does not use interchangeable capsules. You also get to enjoy warranty and guarantee as applicable for such range of products.

Pros

Zoom has always been at the forefront of coming out with new ideas and a few of them are evident as far as the Zoom H4N pro digital multitrack recorder is concerned. Here are a few advantages associated with this product

  • The preamps are incredibly natural in sound and reproduction. Further you get to enjoy a super-low noise floor.
  • It allows you to record almost everything. This could range from the recording of a fluttering humming bird to something louder and having a higher sound volume.
  • All the recordings ensure that realism is not lost under any circumstances.
  • The X/Y microphones can handle a sound output of around 140 dB SPL and this is thunderous to say the least. However, you can be sure that there will be zero sound distortions even at such high volume.
  • You also will be able to get the best of guitar and bass amp compression, limiting, emulation and reverb or delay.
  • You also can record on SDHC/SD cards with a capacity of 32 GB. However, these have to be bought separately.
  • You also can get to enjoy the best of remote control facilities with some of the most unique wired facilities. This makes playback ad recording quite easy.
  • You also can significantly expand the capability of the H4N with the unique Pro accessory kit. This comes with a hairy windscreen, splitter cable, USB cable, and AD-14 AC adapter and attenuator cable.
  • It is very competitively priced and therefore most customers are of the opinion that it offers very good value for money.

Cons

  • Though the stated battery life is around six hours, in many cases it does not last beyond 4 hours.
  • Further the lack of interchangeable capsules is a bit of let down. This is because many other brands and models of multitrack recorders offer this facility.
  • It is smaller when compared to other versions of Zoom multitrack recorders. Those who believe in size may not find favor with this.
  • The after sales service in a few cases, according to customers is not as good as they should have been.

Customer Reviews

It has scores of reviews and the best part is that 72% of customers have given it 5 star rating in some well known eCommerce sites like Amazon.com. This indeed is a feather in its cap and is testimony to the quality as far as the Zoom H4N pro digital multi-track recorder is concerned.

Conclusion

Choosing the right digital multitrack recorder is certainly no easy job. However, when one looks at the various features and functions of the H4N digital multitrack recorder, it does offer quite a few unique features to the customers. It is long lasting, durable and offers the best quality multitrack recording. It has won accolades from professionals and amateurs alike. Hence, there are reasons to believe that you would be investing in a product which has not only won adulation and admiration but also has stood the test of time. You may like to read H6 Zoom Recorder Review

Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Electric Guitar Review

Ibanez S670QM S Series Electric Guitar Sapphire Blue
Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Electric Guitar

Ibanez S670QM S Series Electric Guitar Sapphire Blue

Today’s product under review was rolled out by Ibanez during its latest NAMM show. The gorgeous blue sapphire electric guitar primarily targets beginner and intermediate level players’ segment. One of the most talked about characteristics of this piece of beauty is its signature thin mahogany body.

It makes the guitar thin and lightweight. It almost feels like an extension of your body. Even after jamming for hours, you don’t feel the slightest tinge of fatigue. However, the thinness of the body doesn’t make Ibanez S S670QM compromise on the range of tone and responsiveness of the guitar.

Wondering whether this guitar is worth all the penny? Go on and read our in-depth review and decide for yourself.

Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Electric Guitar Highlights:

Let’s take a quick look at the key features that make Ibanez S S670QM a beast of a guitar that it is. Before we get to that, here’s a fact you should know. The Ibanez S S670QM is an updated version of Ibanez S Sf70QM and borrows many of its prominent features.

  • 3-D, double-cut shape made of mahogany. Transparent finish and features a quilted maple top- a striking feature in all S series guitars.
  • The neck type is Wizard III maple neck which is a welcome feature for fast players.
  • 3-piece neck construction.
  • Six saddled Edge-zero II tremolo bridge aids ultimate playing comfort and impeccable resonance of sound.
  • Stud-lock function for great tuning stability.
  • Rosewood fretboard w/Off-set white dot inlay with 24 jumbo-sized frets, highly suitable for fast and complex fretwork.
  • Classic H/S/H pickup pattern. (Neck pickup- Humbucker, Middle pickup- Single-coil, Bridge Pickup- Humbucker).
  • 5-position blade pickup switch.

Reasons You Should Buy Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Electric Guitar

Impeccable Design

The double-cut mahogany body with a beautiful quilted top, a flat yet broad neck,

all rolled into a gorgeous sapphire blue body makes it a guitar worth showing off to your folks. The mahogany body makes the guitar thin and feels extremely comfortable against the body. Being lightweight, it also makes the guitar twice as responsive as its heavier counterparts.

The infallible combination of quilted maple top and mahogany back helps to squeeze out a very balanced tone. The clarity of the mids is remarkable, to say the least.

Fretboard

Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Fretboard

For beginners, the fretboard may seem a little sharper than usual. However, you will  get used to it with time and practice. The Rosewood fingerboard has 24 jumbo frets along with Off-set dot inlays. However, we have slight qualms about the fact that the strings are placed too close to each other.

Pickups

Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Quantum pickups

The passive Humbucker- Single coil-Humbucker pickup configuration results in a great tonal texture. The ceramic Humbuckers in the bridge position help to resonate intricate rhythm work beyond perfection. The Humbucker neck pickup is undoubtedly the best pickup among the three pups.

The alnico single-coil between the two Humbuckers produces mellower tones. You will love it if you are into Blues and Jazz. The middle pickup (ceramic neck Humbucker) rustles up pretty clean tones and is a great lead up pickup producing smooth midrange output.

With Humbuckers, you can play aggressive chords with character in panache in the blade position 2/4. But sometimes it creates buzz on the 6th string, making the mid pickup a bit noisy. Don’t let this turn you off as you can resolve this problem by simply recalibrating the strings.

Notwithstanding, we would have preferred a better pickup in the bridge to aid better harmonics in this configuration. Nonetheless, as stock pickups, they sound like Bomb. And if you are something of a perfectionist, you can spend an extra C-note or more to grab better pups along with heavier strings and make your guitar reflect your soul through your music.

Wizard III Neck

Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Wizard III Maple neck

The 3-piece maple neck with Wizard contour on this bad boy feels kind of vintage-y. It has a standard bolt-on joint. The neck is sturdy but thinner than most models you will see in this price range. However, you will get used to it eventually. If you have previously played a fast neck guitar, you will find its slim neck quite comfortable while playing arpeggios and fast runs.

Edge Zero II Tremolo Bridge

Edge-Zero II tremolo bridge

While there are better Tremolos for a better price, the Edge Zero II is responsive enough to help you pull off sharp bends with ease. It has stud lock function that facilitates a decent tuning stability.  You can jam for hours without the worry of your guitar going out of tune.

If you find the guitar going out of tune, even if you are not divebombing on the tremolo, then the floydrose system is to be held responsible for that. However,  a little tweaking of the truss rod will easily fix the issue. We understand that the double-locking system makes changing strings a pain. But in the long run, you will be happy to have this feature on your electric guitar.

Pros & Cons of Ibanez S S670QM-SPB Electric Guitar

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Pros
  • Lightweight, fun and easy to play for long hours.
  • Wide tonal range
  • Thin Wizard III neck allows you to play fast runs effortlessly
  • Stud-lock system
  • Edge Zero II tremolo bridge is extremely responsive
  • Decent pickups

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Cons
  • Fret buzz, especially on the 6th string
  • Fret edges are sharper than usual

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The Bottom Line

So there you have it. The S670QM-SPB, with its low profile neck, decent pickups, and Edge Zero II tremolo providing good tuning stability renders itself as quite a package. Yes, there are better options with heavier strings and a better tremolo system if you are willing to pay the price. But if you are going to pick an electric guitar for the first time or yet to polish your skills, this will get the job done.

If the RF noise bugs you, you can easily cut it down by grabbing better pups. The most striking and useful aspect of this guitar is certainly its lightweight mahogany design. It goes easy on your back and harm so that you can play tirelessly for hours. That’s all for today’s segment. Hope this feature cleared all the clouds in your mind.

Buy from: You can get a smashing deal on this guitar on Guitar Center. This site has been selling musical instruments since 1959, offering competitive price on models of the most well-known brands. You will be awestruck by its massive collection of string instruments, drums, percussions, piano, wind instruments, their corresponding accessories and audio devices such as speakers and mixers. You can even purchase used instruments in mint condition from here. Guitar Center doubles checks the quality of every product before delivering it to you. Apart from fast and efficient delivery, it also offers easy returns for credit and exchange.

Best Beginner Banjo – 2019 | Top 10 Reviews by Professional

Washburn Americana B10, Banjo

Are you in the market for a new banjo?  The banjo’s cousin the guitar has typically been in the limelight during past decades thanks to rockers like Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix.  However, you can’t forget the musical instrument featured in banjo reviews.

The banjo’s roots date back to an African stringed instrument connected to a drum. It includes a drum, string, and stick. It’s unknown when this instrument was first played.

Meanwhile, Joel Sweeney invented the modern banjo during the 1800s. He learned how to play the instrument from African-Americans in Virginia.

Sweeney added a neck, fingerboard, and frets to the drum like those included on guitars. In fact, he became the first known person in history to play a banjo on stage.

The musician also added a 5th string connected to a tuning peg on the neck, which made the banjo a one-of-a-kind instrument.  This helps to give the banjo a unique sound even compared to other stringed instruments.

The banjo’s sound is one of the various reasons you should consider purchasing one. You can also get in some exercise when playing the banjo. It can also be a social activity when you play the stringed instrument with other

Today several types of banjos are on the market. They include the classical, jazz, and bluegrass banjo. It can be tough to pick the best model, but it’s possible if you know the basics about the different features that are available.

We’ll be reviewing some of the top units on the market. This includes pricier units in the $500+ range as well as others in the under-$500 range.

Our reviews will include an objective look at some of the top banjos on the market. They’ll include some of the top features, benefits, and drawbacks of each model. This will help you to weigh each model and pick the one that’s right for your wants and needs.

Best Beginner Banjo Review

1. OB-250 Classic Orange Blossom 5-string Banjo by Gold Tone

OB-250 Classic Orange Blossom 5-string Banjo by Gold Tone
  • Ebony Fingerboard

Ebony provides various benefits for musical instruments.  The wood from the African tropical tree is used for various products including musical instruments. This wood includes density/beauty that has been impressing people for centuries.

In terms of durability and appearance, ebony provides a key feature of this banjo. If you’re looking for an eye-catching and durable banjo, then this is definitely one of the best options.

  • Beginner Banjo

If you’re a new banjo player, then this is a good option. That’s in terms of the instrument’s play-ability, for example. It also looks and sounds great.

  • Bluegrass Reproduction

This is a reproduction of the most famous flathead bluegrass banjo on the market.  So if you’re looking for an old-school look and feel this unit is a good option.

Bluegrass banjos are one of the main types of banjos along with classical and jazz. However, bluegrass banjos are famous for the unique design and sound they provide.

  • Overall Quality

This banjo isn’t the “cheapest” one on the market, but it provides good quality in terms of its aesthetics, tone, and feel. For example, it feels good in the hand for playing the banjo for hours.

The under-$1500 price tag might seem steep at first. However, if you want to invest in a quality banjo the maple resonator, neck, and binding make it a solid choice.

  • Tone/Playability

This banjo offers incredible tone/playability. In fact, this version includes extra features like maple neck, ebony fingerboard, and maple resonator. This helps to boost the overall quality of the stringed instrument.

  • 1-piece/die-cast Pot Metal Flange

Pot metal is a type of metal alloy that has a low melting point. This isn’t a high-quality metal, but a key benefit is it’s quite easy to cast. Some metals included in these alloys include copper, lead, zinc, and tin.

  • 3-ply Canadian Maple

The banjo includes a rim made of 3-ply Canadian Maple. This is a nod to the country whose national flag features a maple leaf. This banjo not only includes Canadian maple but 3-ply maple, which features a thicker rim of 3 layers.

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2. PC-Banjola Electric Banjo by Gold Tone

PC-Banjola Electric Banjo by Gold Tone
  • Mandola Style

A mandolin is an 8-stringed instrument that’s set up in 4 pairs with a rounded shell. The mandolin is a type of lute, and the sound originates from the vibrating strings.

The mandola and mandolin are played by plucking the strings like with a guitar pick. This differs from stringed instruments like the violin that are played with a bow.

  • Gig Bag

The PC-Banjola Electric Banjo is bundled with a deluxe padded gig bag. This is a plus since it helps to protect your investment. This adds value to the unit since it’s something you’d probably want anyway

The gig bag is useful to protect your investment. Like other instruments, you’ll want to protect the banjo when you carry it to your gigs, for example. So It’s a plus that it’s bundled with the PC-Banjola.

  • Sitka Spruce

The top of the instrument is made of solid Sitka spruce. It originates from the evergreen tree. This is the biggest species of spruce and also one of the world’s biggest conifers.

  • Maple Neck

The banjo’s neck is constructed from maple. Maple is a wood that originates from various species of trees. Maple lumber is used for various functions including musical instruments. Maple is picked for various reasons including its durability and aesthetics.

  • Many Upgrades

This banjola has several upgrades from the original model. They include pin style bridge, wider body, rising sun inlay, etc. These features add more value to the instrument.

  • Flamed Maple Back/Sides

Flamed maple is a feature of the wood in which the wood fibers’ growth is distorted in a certain pattern. It produces wavy lines called “flames.” This feature is often wrongly referred to as the wood grain.

Flamed maple is used for various musical instruments like banjos, guitars, and violins. In the past, the wood was also used to make the stocks of Kentucky rifles.

The Sitka spruce is used for different functions. The timber is used for different functions like musical instruments.

  • Amplified Tone

This makes the banjo a good stage instrument. It has a unique/sustaining tone. There’s a fat tone due to the stereo pick-up system.

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3. 5-String White Ladye Banjo (Lefty) by Gold Tone

 5-String White Ladye Banjo (Lefty) by Gold Tone
  • Maple Neck/Bridge

The 5-string banjo includes a maple neck and bridge. Maple is easily one of the best materials for musical instruments. That’s due to its form and function. It provides a good aesthetic while it’s also a good option in terms of durability, tone, etc.

  • Good Tone

The WL-250+ offers a tone that’s plunky/punchy. This makes it an excellent option for playing old-school and folk music on the banjo.

  • 12-point Setup

Each stringed instrument gets a 12-point set-up at the manufacturer’s factory. This helps to ensure the unit is inspected thoroughly before it’s shipped.

It requires extra shipping time but helps to make sure you won’t have to deal with any issues/flaws. An added bonus is you’ll have the ability to play the banjo out of the box.

  • Tree of Life Inlay Design

The tree of life inlay on the banjo is unique. That’s because the position markers can easily be seen via the flower patterns for playing up the banjo’s neck.  This makes your banjo playing more convenient and enjoyable.

  • Accurate Replica

This banjo is an accurate replicate of the White Lady 3, which is a popular and vintage banjo. So if you like the look and feel of that unit you should consider this banjo since it’s the next best thing. You can also save big bucks vs. the original model.

  • Hardshell Case

The Ladye Banjo is also bundled with a deluxe hardshell case. This helps to protect your investment when storing the banjo or transporting it between gigs. This accessory is one you’d probably want anyway, so it’s a plus it’s bundled with the banjo.

The case has an eye-catching design. However, just as importantly it’s sturdy enough to protect your banjo. This is especially critical when investing in a quality banjo.

  • Left Hand Model

This Gold Tone banjo is the lefty model. Fun Fact: 10% of the world is left-handed. If you’re in that situation, it can be tough to find left-handed musical instruments. That’s why this feature is a critical one for lefties. It gives you the chance to enjoy banjo playing.

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4. G9470 Clarophone Banjo by Gretsch

Gretsch G9470 Clarophone Banjo
  • Maple Neck/Fingerboard

Maple is one of the top materials used for stringed instruments like banjos. The G9470 includes a neck and fingerboard made of the hardwood. This boosts the unit’s durability and performance.

While it increases the cost, it’s arguably worthwhile in terms of increasing the overall quality of the unit.  If you’re in the market for a quality banjo, then you won’t have to deal with low quality/durability. Materials like maple can increase the durability of the banjo.

  • Unique Sound

The Clarophone produces a unique sound that catches people’s attention then holds it. That’s due to the maple rim/neck and Remo Fiberskyn head. These features produce a unique sound that’s even unique vs. other banjos.

  • “U”-Shape Neck

This is a vintage shape, so if you’re looking for an old-school aesthetic, this is a good option. When selecting a banjo, the main options you have in terms of aesthetics are modern and classic. If you’re looking for the latter, then this banjo is a good option.

  • Finger style-friendly

If you want to use a banjo for finger-style playing, then this unit is one you should definitely consider. That’s due to the boosted volume the banjo’s decision provides. You’ll get precise notes from the stringed instrument.

  • Maple Resonator

This is another component of the banjo that’s made of maple. It’s another important component of the banjo, so maple is a good option in terms of aesthetics and durability.

  • Concert Size

The Gretsch G9470 Clarophone is a concert-size banjo. This makes it a good option for solo and band performances on stages. So if you’re planning to play the banjo during concerts, this is a model you should consider purchasing.

  • Pearloid Position Markers

The position markers are inlays like dots that function as reference points on the banjo’s fingerboard in order to informer the player where particular notes are located.

Inlays like dots have the same function. They’re just different in the aesthetics they provide. Dots are basics inlays while others are fancier.

Pearloid is a type of plastic that’s designed to look like mother of pearl. It’s often used to produce musical instruments like banjos and electric guitars.

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5. CC-100RW Resonator Cripple Creek Banjo by Gold Tone

Best Beginner Banjo - 2019 - CC-100RW Resonator Cripple Creek Banjo by Gold Tone
  • Brass Tone Ring

When picking a banjo, the tone is easily one of the most important features to consider when picking a model. This unit features a tone ring made of rolled brass. This is a population option due to the eye-catching gold appearance.

The tone ring changes a banjo’s basic tone character. If a banjo has the “right” tone ring, it results in a warm sound that’s pleasing to the ear. The material used to produce the tone ring is certainly a key factor.

  • Maple Resonator

The unit includes a 130-inch maple resonator. Maple is a good option in terms of the banjos’ aesthetics, tone, and durability. This explains why maple is often used for key components of banjos.

  • Banjo Accessories

This banjo is sometimes bundled with extra accessories. It’s a plus since it adds value to your purchase. These are often items you’d normally buy anyway, so it’s a plus they’re bundled with the unit, so you get more value.  This can reduce the overall cost of the banjo and accessories.

  • Price/Value

Another plus of this banjo is it’s in the under-$600 price tag. This offers more value. So if you’re a newbie banjo player, it helps you to save money on your purchase.

Even if you aren’t a new player, you might be on a shoestring budget. In that case, the banjo’s price is a big plus. The price is affordable while you won’t have to shell out big bucks.

  • Wide Fingerboard

This is another key feature of the banjo since it provides more versatility. It’s important for your hands to be as comfy as possible when operating the banjo. There are various factors, but wide fingerboard is one of the most critical ones.

  • Straight-line Tailpiece

This is a key feature that spread out the strings, so they pull straight from the banjo’s tailpiece to the bridge. This differs from other units that are at an angle.

The tailpiece you pick is greatly due to the particular type of music you play. For example, bluegrass players often say the straight-line tailpiece significantly improves their instrument’s tone.

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6. Goodtime 2 5-String Banjo by Deering

Deering Goodtime 2 5-String Banjo
  • 5-String Banjo

Why should you consider this option vs. others like a 6-string banjo? You can find 6/7-string banjos, but these are technically banjo/guitar hybrids. If you want a genuine banjo, then you should consider a stringed instrument with 4/5 strings.

Another issue to take up when picking a particular banjo is the type of music you’ll be playing. For example, a 5-string banjo is a good option for folk music. There are other styles like bluegrass banjo, which gives you the option to add a resonator.

Since a 5-string banjo is longer, it also produces a lower tune. You can play it using either a thumb-pick or 2 metal finger picks.

The big plus of a 5-string banjo is this is the most common one on the market. So it’s much easier to find at music stores and online retailers like Amazon.com.

You can play many kinds of music like country with this type of banjo. The unique peg style/type make it a good option. If you want to play raw music, then a 5-string banjo is definitely a wise option.

  • Sealed Geared Tuners

The sealed tuners help to prevent things like corrosion from forming on them, which would have a negative effect on the banjo’s sound/performance. It’s actually easier to maintain open tuner. However, since they’re more vulnerable to dirt and crud, it’s a major drawback.

Sealed tuners are often smoother. The main difference between the two types of tuners is style. So it’s something to consider when picking one or the other.

  • Price/Value

The Goodtime 2 offers good quality and affordable price. In fact, this was the reason the original Goodtime banjos were designed. The banjo isn’t “cheap,” but it’s in the under-$700 price range, so it’s more affordable than many other models.

  • Rock Maple Neck

Rock maple is also known as hard maple. It’s important to know the differences between hard/soft maple. “Soft Maple” doesn’t actually refer to any species of maple. It’s instead a term that includes many different species.

Hard Maple usually refers to a particular type of maple species. It’s also known as Sugar/Rock maple. There’s also Black Maple, which is considered a sub-species of the same tree.

  • Resonator Back

This feature provides the Good time 2 with better sound projection. This is one of the most important factors to consider when picking a banjo.

  • Adjustable Tailpiece

Quality banjos have this feature except for several old-school banjos on the market. These units have a small/fixed tailpiece to provide a traditional look/sound.

When picking an adjustable tailpiece make sure it doesn’t have its own resonance. It’s better if it doesn’t ring/interfere with the rim’s tone. This usually includes non-resonant alloys.

  • Maple Rim

This banjo includes a 3-ply maple rim. Maple is one of the most common woods used to make stringed instruments like banjos. That’s due to various factors like aesthetics and durability.  So when picking a banjo, you should definitely consider materials like maple.

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Best Beginner Banjo Under $500 – 2019 

1. KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo by Kala

Best Beginner Banjo Under $500 - 2019 - KA-BJN-BKC Concert Banjo by Kala
  • Remo Weather King banjo head

The banjo head is Remo Weather King. Remo is a famous company in the musical instruments industry.  When picking a banjo, it’s critical to pick one with high-quality components.

That’s why the Remo Weather King banjo head is a good option. It will improve your playing performance when playing the banjo.

  • Classic Finish

The KA-BJN-BKC has a classic black finish. This is a plus if you’re looking for a basic banjo. If you’re a new banjo player you also probably won’t want a flashy-looking banjo. That’s why this classic finish makes it a good option.

  • Open-back Banjo

When picking a banjo one of the main options is open and closed back units. These two banjos actually have a similar design. The main difference is an open-back banjo doesn’t have a “bowl” that’s mounted to the sound chamber’s back.

In the case of open-back banjos, the strings are usually placed a little farther from the fretboard. That’s due to the way the instrument is played. There are no fingerpicks used, so the style is different.

  • 8-inch Hoop Diameter

This is another important feature to consider when picking a new banjo. The majority of today’s banjo heads have a diameter of 11-inches. On the other hand, old-school banjos might have rim diameters ranging from 10-inches to 12-inches.

Since this is a budget banjo, the 8-inch hoop diameter typically won’t be a problem. That’s especially the case if you’re a newbie banjo player. This banjo is in the under-$400 price range so the hoop’s diameter also really an issue.

  • Mahogany Neck

Mahogany wood is one of the world’s most valuable wood species. It has a pink coloring that becomes red-brown when the wood ages.

Mahogany provides various benefits over other woods. For example, there are few knots/voids. It provides the wood with a grain pattern that’s smooth/even.

  • 5-ply Maple Shell

This is an important component of the banjo since it affects the durability. The 5-ply maple shell helps to ensure the shell is sturdy and durable. This will help to extend the lifespan of the banjo, which is critical.

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2. Learn the Banjo Starter Pack by Rogue

Rogue Learn the Banjo Starter Pack
  • Travel/Starter Banjo

This banjo is a good option if you’re looking for a travel or starter banjo. In that case, you probably won’t want to spend a small fortune on the instrument. If that’s the case, Learn the Banjo is a good option.

After you learn the basics about how to play the banjo, you’ll be ready to upgrade to a better unit. However, if you’re just getting started then this model is a good option.

  • Starter Pack

Since this product is a starter pack so you’ll have everything you need to learn how to play the banjo.

Gig Bag/Banjo Case: These items can help protect your banjo. Both items make it easier when you have to transfer your banjo from storage to gigs, and so on.

Chord Book: one of the most important aspects of playing the banjo/guitar is chords. This chord book is a valuable item to help you learn them better.

Banjo DVD: This is a great resource for learning how to play a 5-string banjo. You can watch experts as they teach the basics of banjo playing. This, in turn, will make the learning curve steeper.

The DVD includes tab charts and interactive features. These are key features for improving your banjo-learning journey.

  • Satin Finish

This provides the banjo with a smooth and classic look. When selecting a banjo, the finish is something you should consider in order since it affects the look and feel of the banjo.

  • 18 Brackets

When picking a banjo one of the main issues to take up is the number of brackets the unit has. 24 is generally too many. On the other hand, 6 brackets is quite low.

  • Affordable Price

The under-$300 price tag is definitely a plus if this is your first banjo. In that case, you probably won’t want to shell out $60,000 for a banjo.

  • Open-back

An open-back banjo doesn’t have anything that’s attached to the back. So you can see inside the sound-making chamber.

Open-back banjos tend to have a lighter weight, mellower tone, and lower price tag. There’s also a different set-up than resonator banjo. This often involves a string action that’s higher.

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3. AC-6+6 String Banjo by Gold Tone

Goldtone AC-6+ 6 String Banjo with Gig Bag
  • Padded Gig Bag

After purchasing a banjo, you’ll want to protect your investment. There are various ways to do that, but a gig bag is one of the best ones. Whenever you transport the bag, the banjo will be protected.

The padding offers extra protection for the banjo. So even if it gets bumped around it won’t be a major issue.

  • Powerful Sound

This wood body banjo doesn’t look like others on the market, but that’s OK. If you’re looking for a powerful-sounding banjo, then this is a good option. It’s a good option for playing on stage, around campfires, etc.

  • Travel/Starter  Banjo

If you’re looking for a travel or starter banjo, then this is a good option. It’s in the under-$500 price range so you won’t have to spend big bucks on the banjo. That’s likely a situation you’ll want to avoid when picking a starter/travel banjo.

  • Maple/Ebony Cap Bridge

These are some of the most durable materials that can be found on banjos. When selecting a stringed instrument, it’s critical to look for such materials to increase its durability.

  • SMP-VC Sliding Magnetic Pickup

This feature provides various benefits. In particular, there’s no soldering needed or drilling a hole into the instrument’s rim.

The SMP is installed onto the unit’s coordinator rods. It’s possible to slide it to any position between the neck/bridge in order to get the exact tone you want.

  • Rim/Resonator

On this banjo, they’re molded via a durable, strong, and durable composite material. This helps to extend the lifespan of your banjo, which is always a plus.

  • Medium Frets

When picking a banjo, the frets are some of the most important components to consider in order to pick the right model for your needs.

In terms of the frets’ sizes, you’ll find a wide range available. The size you pick depends on your banjo playing style. So this is an issue to consider before selecting your next banjo.

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4. B50 5-String Banjo By Ibanez

B50 5-String Banjo By Ibanez
  • Mahogany Neck

Mahogany is a good option for banjo materials in terms of aesthetics, tone, and durability. That’s why it’s a plus this banjo is constructed of mahogany. The neck is one of the most important components of banjos.

  • Affordable Price

The under-$300 price range is ideal if you’re purchasing your first banjo or if you’re on a shoestring budget.

  • Single Coordinator Rod

These rods should be solid and made of an alloy that’s non-interfering. Many people make the wrong assumption that a pair of coordinating rods are always required.

That’s because it depends on the banjo’s design/stability. For example, some banjos require 2 coordinating rods since they’re constructed around a very thin plywood rim.

However, in many cases, 1 coordinating rod is enough when the banjo is built around a 3-ply maple rim.

  • Banjo Tradition

Ibanez was in the banjo business three decades ago but is back. The company was once well-known for banjo design and manufacturing. The company is back manufacturing banjos.

  • Purpleheart Fretboard

The purple heart plant has deep purple leaves and flowers that are light purple-pink. Purple heart is used as a houseplant and in gardens.

The plant is native to Mexico and grows well in warm climates. It’s also able to grow in regions that have mild winters and little/no frost. The purple color can be a big contrast with other plants around it.

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5. Americana B10 Banjo by Washburn

Washburn Americana B10, Banjo
  • 22 Fret Fingerboard

This banjo features deluxe Pearl inlays. This is fancier than basic inlays that are included with other banjos.  One of the main issues when picking a banjo is the number of frets.

  • Maple Bridge

The bride is ebony-tipped to provide clear tones, which improves the overall sound of the banjo.

  • Mahogany Resonator

Mahogany is an excellent option in terms of aesthetics and durability. When picking a banjo one of the most important issues is the materials that are used. This will help to produce the best results in terms of form and function.

  • Company’s Tradition

Washburn was founded in 1883. So it has 130+ years of experience producing stringed instruments. As a result, you’ll benefit from the company’s vast industry experience.

  • Chrome Armrest

This feature helps to boost playing comfort, which is critical for reducing fatigue. That’s a situation you’ll want to avoid when playing your stringed instrument.

The more ergonomic the banjo is the fewer problems you’ll have when playing. This is also more likely during long sessions whether it’s a concert or jam.

  • Die-Cast Tuners

This helps provide smooth tuning, which is very important when using a stringed instrument. It helps to ensure you’ll get the best sound possible from the instrument. Die-cast tuners help to provide smooth tuning.

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6. BW2E Backwoods Electric Banjo by Dean Guitars

BW2E Backwoods Electric Banjo by Dean Guitars
  • Established Company

Dean Guitars is a US manufacturer of stringed instruments. The company is best known for its acoustic/bass/electric guitars. However, it also produces other stringed instruments like banjos and ukuleles.

Dean Zelinsky founded Dean Guitars 40+ years ago in 1976. It became famous a few decades later when Armadillo Enterprises bought the trade name. Dean now has 100+ employees. Buying a banjo from an established company provides several benefits in terms of quality products/service.

  • 24-piece Bracket

In the past 24 brackets were standard on banjos. However, the situation has changed and today so you can find many models with fewer brackets. That said, a higher number of brackets means more tension on each of the brackets.

There are some situations when more brackets are more practical. That includes a tackhead banjo in which more tacks results in more even tension. So it basically depends on the type of banjo you’re shopping for and the type of music you’ll be playing.

  • Mahogany Resonator

This hardwood is one of the top options for stringed instruments in terms of factors like aesthetics and tones. The timer is red-brown and straight-grained.

Mahogany is often used for the backs/sides and necks of stringed instruments like guitars and banjos. This is due to the ability to create a deep/warm tone vs. other woods like birch or maple.

  • Volume Control

Here’s another plus to consider with this banjo over others. It’s a key benefit that allows you to increase/decrease the stringed instrument’s volume based on your needs. You can get full electric banjo tones for rigs or Pas.

  • Humbucker Pickup

This is a kind of pickup that’s effective for a few key goals. They’re built to end the issue of suppressing external noise. They’re designed with 2 coils in a method that cancels out electrical hum and extra noises that impact single-coil pickups. They “buck” (cancel) unwanted hum, which gives the pickup their name.

Another plus of this setup is it produces a loud/warm sound vs. the bright/sharp sound of several single-coil pickups. This is another advantage of this banjo compared to others on the market.

  • Good Value

The BW2E Electric Banjo has lots of features yet is in the under-$500 price tag. This makes it a practical option since you won’t have to spend big bucks for your next guitar.

  • Open-faced Tuner

What’s open tuning all about? In this case, all of the banjo’s strings are tuned to the notes of one chord that’s easily identified. So when you strum the banjo’s open chords, you play that chord.

It’s critical for the chord to be easily identified. The reason is you can identify nearly any series of notes as one chord.

  • Case/Stand

These items are bundled with the Dean banjo

  • Pearl Dot Inlays

You can find a wide array of inlays when buying a guitar or banjo. They can range from basic to ornate, so it really depends on which ones you prefer. Mother of pearl is one of the inlays available when picking a new banjo. Other options include shells.

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7. Goodtime Tenor 4-String Banjo (17-Fret) by Deering

Deering Goodtime 17-Fret Tenor 4-String Banjo
  • Affordability

The Deering Goodtime 4-String Banjo is priced in the under-$500 range. This is much more affordable than the $55,000 Super Earl unit. On the other hand, you’ll also be getting a quality unit vs. generic and off brands, which is something you’ll generally want to do.

If you’re a newbie player, then you’ll likely want to avoid spending big bucks on your first banjo. In that case, this Deering Goodtime Tenor Banjo is a good choice. You could upgrade later to a pricier unit if you want to do that.

  • Good Workmanship

This is a basic banjo that’s a real workhorse if you’re looking for a quality instrument without a lot of frills. It’s an eye-catching, and lightweight banjo yet features good quality

It’s worth noting this model doesn’t have the loud kick that’s provided by a resonator banjo. However, it still produces enough good sound for a good playing experience.  This makes it a wise choice if you’re looking for a high-quality banjo at a good price.

  • Lightweight

This banjo weighs around 4 pounds. This makes it more versatile for hiking, camping, traveling, etc. A modern banjo typically weighs up to about 3x that weight so 4 pounds is quite lightweight. This makes it easier to take the banjo with you when traveling, for example.

  • 17-fret Neck

The banjo’s shorter neck reduces the banjo’s end-to-end length to just 30 inches. This makes the stringed instrument easier to relocate and play. It’s definitely a plus when you’re a newbie banjo player since it makes the instrument easier to play.

  • Established Company

Deering Banjo Company was founded 40+ years ago in 1975 by Greg & Janet Deering. The company is headquartered in the US state California and manufactures several banjo brands including Deering and Goodtime.

The co-founder Greg Deering started learning woodworking and received his first tools/toolbox at an early age.

Deering has now reached several milestones including the Goodtime Series’ launch a few decades ago in 1997. The company also launched the game-changing banjo tone Eagle 2 in 2009. The company has now sold 100,000+ instruments.

  • Crossover Instrument

If you already know how to play another stringed instrument, this model is a good option due to the tuning. It’s tuned in 5ths like a cello or viola. It’s also a good cross-over instrument due to other factors. They include the banjo’s weight and length.

  • Easy to Play

This is one of the biggest features to consider when looking for a banjo. This is especially true when you’re buying your first banjo, for example. In that case, you won’t want to deal with the hassles of learning how to play a complex banjo.

  • US-Made

This banjo is produced at the Deering Banjo factory located in California. This provides the company with better quality control vs. outsourcing the manufacturing to another country, for example.

Another benefit of constructing in-house banjos is it reduces the overall cost. This allows Deering to pass on the savings to its customers.

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8. BW6 Backwoods 6-String Banjo by Dean Guitars

Dean BW6 Backwoods 6 String Banjo with Hard Shell Case
  • Quality Manufacturer

This Dean 6-String Banjo is from a company that was founded 40+ years ago in 1976. When picking a banjo, it’s important to pick a company with lots of know-how and experience in the industry. When selecting products from such companies, you’re more likely to have a good buyer’s experience.

  • 6-String Banjo

This Hybrid Banjo is a 6-string instrument. It’s interesting that some of the first 6-string banjos were 5-string models plus a bass string. This allowed the instruments to hit low notes like G/F based on the tuning. These early 6-string instruments nearly gave the same range as guitars.

Today many Us-made 6-string zither banjos actually look like old-school 5-string banjos. However, there’s an extra peg that produces out of the center of the peghead. Sometimes the fifth string is tunneled, and other times it’s not.

There are other types of 6-string banjos on the market. The main benefit is they provide a playing experience that’s more guitar-like so if that’s the experience you want then this is a wise choice over other options.

  • Remo Head

The 1—inch Remo head is made by the world’s biggest drumhead company. The company was founded 60+ years ago and is based on the first synthetic Mylar drumheads invented by Remo D Belli.

Since then the company has released many innovative products. In fact, the company is an industry leader in terms of the technical/musical edge Remo Drumheads deliver to customers.

  • Grover Tuners

Grover Musical Products is a US company that designs/makes/distributes tuners for stringed instruments including banjos and guitars. The company was founded 60+ years ago, and its name was acquired from AD Grover & Son. Grover is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio (US).

Grover tuners are considered to be high-quality by many guitar and banjo players. These tuners are generally considered better than cheap plastic units. This, in turn, improves your overall banjo-playing experience.

  • Overall Quality

This banjo is produced with quality form and functionality. Not only are these banjos high-quality but also offer affordable prices. Backwoods banjos are reminiscent of 1930 banjos. They include a traditional look and bright tone. So it’s a good option if you’re looking for high performance and old-school aesthetics.

  • Crossover Instrument

This 6-string banjo is a cross-over banjo/guitar. It’s also known as a “banjitar.” This is another name for a 6-string banjo. This type of instrument has often been referred to as a gimmick.

This banjo was developed for guitar players who wanted to play another 6-string instrument that had a banjo sound.  It’s interesting that this banjo was invented more than a century ago when the mandolin was the US’ most popular fretted instrument. During this time the jazz banjo was about to replace it.

The Zither, Jazz-inspired, and Droneless units were the two main types of 6-string banjos. This Dean banjo is one of the various 6-string models on the market. If you already know how to play the guitar, then this is definitely an option worth considering.

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9. Goodtime Banjo Ukulele by Deering

Deering Goodtime Banjo Ukulele Concert Scale
  • Banjo Ukulele

You’ve probably heard of a banjo and ukulele but how about a banjo ukulele? This stringed instrument is also known as a “banjolele.” This is a hybrid instrument that blends the top features of the banjo and ukulele.

This produces a unique sound that adds color/texture to different musical ensembles. So if you want the best of both worlds the banjolele is definitely a good option. There are tons of brands, models, and features to consider so make sure to do your homework so you can choose wisely.

  • Quality Materials

This banjo includes high-quality materials like Maple Rim and Neck. Maple is one of the best options in terms of aesthetics and functionality. It’s easily one of the most popular hardwoods available for stringed instruments.

This is part of the investment in a new musical instrument. While high-quality materials have a higher price tag, they’re arguably worthwhile in terms of the banjo’s aesthetics and performance.

  • Natural Color

This is a matter of preference, but if you’re looking for a natural look, then this banjo is an outstanding option. This provides an old-school/classic look that is definitely a plus.

  • Concert Scale

This unit includes a full 1—inch rim, which produces a warm yet loud/full sound across the strings. These tones are improved with the renaissance had and bridge plate. This boosts sustain and lowers bass.

  • Affordable Price

The price tag of the Goodtime Banjo-Ukulele is in the under-$500 price range. Is this the cheapest unit in the world? It’s not, but it’s still affordable vs. other banjos that cost tens of thousands of dollars, for example.

As always it’s important not only to consider the price of the musical instrument but also the value you get. This model offers a good option in terms of that area.

  • Versatile Design

This banjo provides versatility that makes it a good option for various activities/places like camping, camping, office, etc. It’s loaded with features that produce a high-end sound quality. This allows you to use the same banjo for several functions.

  • Extra Features

These include 17 frets, 16 hooks/nuts, and others. These plusses provide a better experience since it improves the overall form/function of the banjo. Even if you don’t’ want tons of bells & whistles, it’s a plus to have some like these. You’ll also get:

  • Extended Fingerboard
  • Concert Scale
  • Deering Bridge Plate
  • Super Nylogut Stringers

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Banjo Buying Guide

If you’re in the market for a banjo, it’s important to know which features to consider in order to pick the right instrument for your needs. Here are some of the most important ones:

TYPES OF BANJOS

6-Stringed Banjo

In terms of playability this type of banjo function like a standard guitar. Thus, it’s a good option if you’re a guitarist who wants to try out a different stringed instrument.

These stringed instruments are like guitars in terms of the 6 strings. The big difference is the banjo sounds like bright and twangy like—well, a banjo.

These banjos are available in open/closed back variants, and you can even find 6-string electric banjos. Buyer beware! If you’re picking your first stringed instrument, you should expect to spend more time learning the instrument than a standard 5-string banjo.

5-Stringed Banjo

If you’re a beginner banjoist, then this is a good option. It became popular during the 1830s and included a specialized/unique string that was shorter and gave the musician the ability to play the banjo at a higher/open pitch.

Another plus of the 5-stringed banjo is you can play the traditional banjo sound that people around the world are used to hearing.

4-Stringed  Banjo

These banjos don’t have to be played as base instruments. They’re in fact played in different styles like:

  • Chord Melody
  • Chordal Accompaniment
  • Duo Style
  • Single String Melody
  • Tremolo

There are two types. The Tenor Banjo has a short neck and was became popular in 1910. This type of banjo contains short scale frets and is used mostly for chordal accompaniment.

Then there’s the Plectrum Banjo. The musician plays this instrument like a guitar. It contains a pick and is sometimes used to play jazz music.

Open vs. Closed Back

These are two of the main types of banjos on the market. The main design of each type is similar, but the sound is quite different.

Open-Back Banjo

As its name suggests, an open-back banjo doesn’t have a back cover and has an open sound chamber. Here are some of the features:

  • Classic banjo design
  • Low volume
  • Fingerpicks not needed
  • Soft/mellow sound for mountain style
  • Lightweight

Closed-Back Banjo

This is also known as a Resonator Banjo. Here are some of the main features:

  • Wooden “bowl” covers the sound chamber
  • Heavier than open-back
  • Bright/twangy sound
  • Strings usually close to the fretboard
  • Popular with bluegrass players
  • Fingerpicks can be used
  • Sound is projected out to audience

Price

You can pay over $60,000 for a banjo if you want the crème de la crème. That said, you can still find quality units in the under-$500 price range.

What determines the price tag? There are various factors including the materials, craftsmanship, bells & whistles, and so on. As always it’s important to set a budget so you don’t spend more than you can afford.

Overall Quality

It’s easy to test the banjo’s quality by pressing down each string along the fingerboard’s length. The strings should easily contact the frets while not causing pain in your fingers.

Strum/pluck each string then together. You should hear a pleasant/clear sound that doesn’t include any buzzes/rattles.

Meanwhile, the tuners should have enclosed mechanics and function smoothly.  Most banjos prefer a 5-string tuner since tuning pegs that are friction-based might not maintain their tune effectively.

CONCLUSION

We’ve just reviewed some of the top banjos on the market. If you’re an experienced banjo player, then you’ll likely want to pick a high-priced unit. Meanwhile, if you’re a newbie player, then an under-$500 banjo would be better.

In both situations, you should first determine which features are the most important to you. Are you looking for maple or mahogany components? Are you looking for 6, 18, or 24 brackets? Do you want an open or closed-back unit? These are some of the many issues to take up when picking a banjo.

Our pick for the best overall banjo is: Learn the Banjo Starter Pack by Rogue. It includes some basic features like a satin finish, high-end head, and 18 brackets. This helps make the banjo a good model for new banjoists.

This banjo is also in the under-$300 price range. So you won’t have to break the bank learning how to play the guitar. That’s likely a situation you’ll want to avoid just in case you decide it’s not the right instrument for you.

However, what puts this Rogue banjo over the top is the starter pack. Besides the banjo, you’ll also get a banjo case, gig bag, chord book, and DVD.

This is what makes the Learn the Banjo Starter Pack the best overall option. The instrument itself isn’t the fanciest one on the market. That’s OK since you’re just getting started with the instrument. You can spend more money once you get in some practice. Until then this Rogue unit is the best banjo for the buck!

Best Acoustic Guitars under $1000

Fender Paramount PM-1 Deluxe Dreadnought

Best Acoustic Guitars under $1000

Before deciding to shell out $1000, a question sure has popped up in your head at least once- is it worth it? Well, being a part of a professional band some point in our lives, our team says yes, it’s worth every penny. While shopping for the best acoustic guitar under $1000, the first thing you should look for is superior craftsmanship.

Needless to state the obvious that there are several other aspects to check out other than a soul-pleasing design. When you strum the guitar, it should create a soul-steering sound too, that mojo should be there. So, we, a bunch of music enthusiasts decided to do a thorough market research on your behalf and make the decision easier for you.

Reviews of the Best Acoustic Guitars of 2018

Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitar

Talking of mojo, the first guitar to be featured on our top 10 list has to be Seagull Artist Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitarmosaic. By the looks of it, it gives the impression of a high-end acoustic guitar. All thanks to the wooden mosaic body accentuated by its cedar top, mahogany sides and back.

In the cut-throat competition between this solid wood guitar and laminate guitars, this one surely stands out for its exquisite, durable design as well extraordinary sound out. The combination of mahogany, cedar, and dreadnought size also affect the sound of the guitar to a great extent. The full, well-rounded, mellow tone without a heavy-bass response will stir something inside the heart of your audiences.

The crisp sound accompanied by well-defined tones is the main USP of this model. We also loved the wide head of the guitar which enhances the tuning stability of the model. Plus, the wooden body is sturdy enough to stand the test of time.

Seagull Artist Mosaic features a Rosewood fretboard which makes strumming, playing harmony, lead line pickups and strumming chords an immersive experience. This goes both for the beginners and seasoned guitarists. We bet you can play your favorite tunes or simply practice for hours end with this guitar without feeling tired.

Add to all of the above, the model comes with a solid case that protects the guitar from all the beating you might subject it to, unintentionally. Moreover, it also makes traveling with the guitar a breeze. So ergonomically sound design-check, great sound quality-check, ease of playing- check, easy portability-check.

So if you want to upgrade your old guitar with a new one for a reasonable price or simply looking for a guitar that’ll overwhelm you with its sound, we definitely recommend checking out this bad boy.

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Pros
    • A large sound hole that provides the guitar a big voice
    • Warm, mellow, well-rounded tone
    • Cedar top combined with mahogany back and sides
    • Great for beginners, intermediate players as well as experienced guitarists
    • Scalloped x-bracing
  • Good tuning stability

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Cons
  • The original strings might need to be replaced, eventually

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Yamaha NTX1200R Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar

If you are switching from a dreadnought-sized guitar like Artistic Mosaic or jumbo steel- Yamaha NTX1200R Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar, Rosewoodstring guitar to this nylon-string guitar for the extra nuance and warmth in tone, you are on the right path, my friend! This electro-acoustic guitar uses an African Rosewood neck paired with Rosewood back and sides. It also features a solid Sitka spruce top embellished with a wooden rosette, giving the guitar a premium look and feel. The combination of these tonewoods helps NTX1200R produce extremely well-pronounced and well-balanced tones.

The nylon strings not only take the playability of the guitar to another level but also provides an impeccable tonal range. Something you will come to appreciate a lot if you are a classical guitar player. What further adds to the superior, unmatchable craftsmanship of this model is Yamaha’s patented A.R.E (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement). It is essentially a wood manipulation technique.

Thanks to A.R.T, the dynamic electro-acoustic sound, sharp tones and incredible resonance of the guitar closely resembles the mature sound of a vintage guitar. We were also quite impressed by the 14th-fret cutaway design that allows easy access to the highest frets, making the upper frets access a breeze for even the newbies. We also found that the ebony bridge holds the tuning quite well. But there’s is more to this power-packed guitar than just that.

The NTX1200R is packed with Yamaha’s ART (Acoustic Resonance Transducer) two-way pickup system, one on the bass side and another on the treble. The two-way pickup system is accompanied by System 61 preamp precise volume control, perfectly complementing the natural, mature, nuanced tones produced by the nylon strings.

We also found that the ebony bridge holds the tuning quite well. The multi-layer contact sensors along with a multilayer damper let you nail the lead runs without getting bugged by the feedbacks. Thus, allowing you to capture the most dynamic, natural tones with controlled dissonance in the high range. So if your playing range spans across Latin, Pop, Jazz, Blues and Rock, this could be a perfect guitar to get your hands on.

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Pros
    • Cutaway design with a spruce top
    • Loaded with Yamaha’s ARE technology to produce a mature sound
    • Solid build
    • Two-way pickup system
  • Excellent onboard electronics, making the guitar gig-ready, always

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Cons
  • The 4th string of the 4th fret creates a slight buzz

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Yamaha A-Series A3R Acoustic-Electric Guitar

As far as acoustic guitars go the Yamaha A3R is one of the best acoustic guitars $1000. Yamaha A-Series A3R Acoustic-Electric Guitar with Soft Case, Tobacco Sunburst Built with rosewood and mahogany the A3R sports a classic look that is hard to miss when it comes to style. The guitar stays true to a traditional body shape, thus allowing players to adjust to it more easily.

The guitar has a newly added top bracing and a shorter back broad that allows sound to flow more naturally thereby giving studio sound even during stage performances. The Rosewood exterior helps create low to high balanced tones. Special mention must be made of the SRT system which helped us to blend preamp signals and thus pump out studio quality sound.

When playing in a studio, it is very easy to hear the subtle notes. However, using the blend control along with the SRT would ensure that you do not compromise on sound quality even during your stage performances. Ready to sound like you do in the studio on stage? A Yamaha A3R is your best bet.

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Pros
    • 6 string dreadnought
    • Solid durable construction
    • A.R.E. wood torrefaction
    • Scalloped bracing
  • Traditional cut body shape

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Cons
  • Only for right-handed players

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Taylor 114ce 100 Series Acoustic Guitar

Taylor has traditionally been known for great guitars at extremely affordable prices the Taylor 114ce 100 Series Acoustic Guitar114ce is just another addition to this great legacy. The first thing that we noticed on using the guitar is its sound quality. It would be quite an understatement to say that we were blown away by the precise tones. The intonation and the bass levels alike, the sound is smooth, sharp and clear.

Secondly, the tuners can modulate the sound levels to adjust as per requirements – whether playing in a band or going solo. The best part about the 114ce is its sturdy build quality which ensures that you can play the guitar for extended periods without any damage.

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Pros
    • Six enclosed die-cast turners
    • Tusq bone saddle
    • ES-T internal pickup system
    • Front facing onward preamble
  • Custom made equalizer

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Cons
  • A little heavy

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Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESB

The Taylor GS Mini is a guitar with a difference in the sense that it is unlike any of the Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESBother guitars on the list. The GS Mini as the name suggests is a more compact version of the traditional guitar in terms of dimension. However, that is just about where the dissimilarity ends.

Sporting a look made from the hard mahogany top, the GS Mini sounds just as impressive as a regular sized guitar. The smaller size ensures that it can be used in diverse places like campsites and also carried around more easily.

The three-layered Koa wood guarantees durability against rough weather and thus ensures that you can carry it just about anywhere. The compact size and the consistent performance make the GS Mini one of the best guitars under $1000. As far as the playability is concerned, it can be equaled but not bettered by its direct competitors.

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Pros
    • Distinctive wood grain
    • Small comfortable size
    • Durable Koa top
    • Built-in digital chromatic tuner
  • Symmetrical size

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Cons
  • No cutaway, so high frets maybe a problem

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Blueridge BR-160 Historic Series Dreadnought Guitar

The   has a lot going for it and it easy to see the reason behind its Blueridge BR-160 Historic Series Dreadnought Guitarenduring popularity. Unlike the classical, polished look that most conventional acoustic guitars go for, the BR-160 sports a vintage look. This is achieved with a solid Sitka spruce top which apart from highly accentuating the style quotient also helps in producing a deep bass sound.

The combination of the Sitka spruce with the Indian rosewood creates a deep mellow sound which can only be described as being a vintage classic. The small attention to detail can easily be observed in the minute attention paid on each aspect of the guitar. The slender neck of the guitar, while slimmer than the conventional variety, makes it easier for players with smaller hands to wield it. At its price, the BR-160 is making the right kind of music and we for one are happy to dance to its tune. Blueridge Contemporary Series BR-73 000 Will be the best alternative of Blueridge BR-160

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Pros
    • Vintage look
    • Full balanced tone
    • Sitka wood top for extra durability
    • Deep bass
  • Slimmer neck

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Cons
  • Case must be bought separately

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Yamaha L-Series LL16M Solid Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The name Yamaha has become synonymous with quality musical instruments and the Yamaha L-Series LL16M Solid Mahogany Acoustic-Electric GuitarLL16M is a legend in that regard. This happens to be one of the only acoustic guitars we have tried out (and we have tried out a lot), that produces a full-range response with absolute consistency.

The rich tone can be attributed to Yamaha’s trademark A.R.E. process and the enhanced fretboard. Special mention must also be made to the improved fingerboard edge that helps in better grips while playing the SRT zero which enhances the string tones once the guitar is plugged in. The guitar looks like a legend feels like a legend and sounds like a legend. Need we say more?

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Pros
    • Innovative guitar design
    • Non-scalloped bracing
    • 5 ply mahogany/rosewood neck
    • Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.) treated wood
  • Passive SRT Zero Impact pickup

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Cons
  • Requires external preamp

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Fender Paramount PM-1 Deluxe Dreadnought

Fender Paramount PM-1 Deluxe Dreadnought

Fender guitars have always held a special place for us owing to its superior look, build quality and unmatched performance. The PM-1 has so much going for it that we just didn’t know where to start at. Firstly, the vintage sunburst finish is bound to turn heads if not permanently fix them on the guitar. Yes, it looks absolutely that beautiful.

Secondly, the art-deco fretboard inlays lend a vintage flavor to the guitar that is virtually unmatched in the acoustic section at this price range. On the performance front, the guitar emits a balanced sound with a clear ringing.

However, the guitar does not cover the mid-range notes well enough and sadly that was a bit of a disappointment. We would recommend investing in this guitar only if you wish to play rock or hard metal music.

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Pros
    • Fishman designed preamp
    • Plays low frequency effortlessly
    • Durable construction
    • Hardshell case
  • Comes in three body style

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Cons
  • The mid-range notes aren’t up to the mark

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Martin DRS2 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Martin DRS2 reminded us of another classic the Gibson Hummingbird in terms of Martin DRS2 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitarits performance and design. The only difference was that the former cost a third of the Gibson classic’s price tag. If that comparison is anything to go by, you can easily understand that the DRS2 is one of the best acoustic guitars under $1000. The tone that the guitar puts forth can best be described as deep and somber owing to the solid wood construction of the guitar.

But then, if you are ordering a Martin DRS2 you would be doing it for the characteristic “Martin” sound. The guitar uses Sitka spruce which ensures the deep bass of the instrument. Where the DRS2 excels is the playability quotient. For instance, the slim neck of the guitar helps the player guide across the neck easily. Everything from fingerstyle to tapping feels so easy on the guitar.

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Pros
    • Fishman Sonitone allows plug and play
    • Slimmer neck and taper
    • Bass and treble voices are virtually unmatched
    • Can be used both as an electric and an acoustic guitar
  • Change tone in real time

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Cons
  • Is limited in terms of tone variations

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Epiphone EJ-200SCE Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic/Electric Guitar

It is important to understand the very beginning that the EJ-200SCE is not meant for Epiphone EJ-200SCE Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitareveryone. The dimensions of the guitar coupled with its heavy weight make it a select choice for players across genres. The EJ-200SCE sports a spruce top with a rosewood bridge which is a pretty quirky twist on the staple classic look that most acoustic guitars in this segment sport.

The combination of various woods ensures that the tone the guitar emits is solid and yet delicately balanced and thus ideal for both playing in a band and going solo. The USP of the product, however, has got to be the Epiphone eSonic2 preamp system which is built into the guitar.

The system is a one-stop solution for all your guitar needs be it using as a tuner for preventing accidental popping. The EJ-200CE is perhaps not the best that this segment has to offer, but once you start using this, we don’t think you’ll be playing anything else for some time to come.

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Pros
    • Plug and Play feature
    • Epiphone eSonic2 preamp system
    • Tone shaping options
    • Low battery indicator
    • NanoFlex, low-impedance pickup
  • Powered by lighter lithium batteries

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Cons
  • Weighs a bit on the heavier side

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Best Acoustic guitars under $1000- Buying Guide

The $1000 segment in the guitar industry is an extremely confusing place to be for the uninitiated. There are a lot of possible choices when it comes to investing in a guitar and this obviously creates endless confusion. To make life easier we decided to cut to the chase and list out the aspects you should consider while investing in a guitar. Read on to find out.

Things to Consider While Buying an Acoustic Guitar under $1000

Solid or Laminate

Apart from the very obvious difference in finishing that separates the two variants there are a few details that make them unique in their own ways. The Solid wood guitar is usually made completely of Koa or Brazilian rosewood. The wooden construction makes the guitar less tolerant of heat or sudden temperature change. Exposing to harsh conditions could produce cracks in the guitar.

The tone that these guitars produce is, however, comparatively more defined and consistent in terms of performance. The laminated guitars are more flexible in terms of design and color and can be used under adverse weather conditions. Obviously, that would mean lower efforts at maintenance and reduced recurring costs.

Obviously, we were partially inclined towards the laminated variant but the final call should always rest with the guitarist. If you are more of a traveler we would recommend the laminate finish and if you are more of an orthodox musician for whom tonal quality stands paramount, then you look no forward than the solid variant.

Brand

What’s in a name, Shakespeare asks? A lot when it comes to guitars we retort. The best brands in the business like Taylor and Martin would not be such great brands if not for their high-quality guitars. Brand, therefore, is an important aspect to consider because apart from ensuring quality, branding also ensures better resale value.

Sound and Style

The most notable difference between a cheap and expensive guitar is the sound. Everything from the tonal quality to the port out options reeks of the price. We did notice that the guitar which costs less inevitably sounds “cheaper” than a more expensive variant.

No wants a drab guitar. Every guitarist worth his/her salt wants to invest in a guitar that looks great sounds awesome and is durable enough to last for many years. In this respect craftsmanship is essential. Don’t be afraid to pick and choose repeatedly, constantly changing your decision before finally investing. It’s your guitar, you have a right to be choosy about the instrument you wish to make love to (figuratively speaking).

Quality

When it comes to guitars, quality is key. A good quality guitar would obviously translate well in terms of performance, and artistic satisfaction. Since even the most “budget” guitar is going to set you back by a grand it is essential to ensure that you are investing in absolutely the best your money can buy.

Is a second-hand guitar the way to go?

We have seen that the second-hand guitar market is an extremely lucrative place for young guitarists who wish to save money on a guitar. While there are no absolute restrictions on buying refurbished guitars, we would obviously recommend you to check the guitar for cracks and damages before investing in them.

Extras

If money is not an issue then we would recommend investing in a hard-shell case. While guitars by default come in a gig bag usually made of synthetic fabric, a hard-shell would go a long way in protecting your guitar from bumps and wear resulting from travel.

The next important thing would be to invest in a set of amplifiers to help boost your sound output. We recommend investing in an instrument cable, a DI box and an XLR cable for starters. These basic attachments would help you get through those initial gigs. It is important also to invest in an amp because while at home we found the acoustic guitar very easy to play, it would take time getting used to an amp which is usually used in larger shows.

Knowing your requirements

Since the under $1000 segment is crowded with a lot of potentially very different guitars, having your needs sorted out would go a long way in making a choice. If you wish to invest in a guitar that gives out complex tones you would need to invest bigger bucks. However, if you are looking for a guitar that you can take to gigs and shows then you would do well to sacrifice tonal quality for durability. Keep your priorities sorted and you are sure to get a bang for your buck.

Value

Value of any instrument can be determined under two aspects – aesthetic and resale. The aesthetic value of the instrument is the value that the user assigns to it. It comprises of the way the instrument plays out. Aesthetic value is important because a larger part of our impression while buying a new instrument is based on the former. The resale value is the pure monetary exchange that the guitar would bring forth should you wish to sell it in the future.

The Bottom Line

Even you have been playing guitar for some time, shelling out $1000 for a guitar might still seem a bit too much. But speaking from our years of experience, we can safely recommend you to simply go for it if you are ready for it. The best acoustic guitars under $1000 will simulate a sound that’ll stir you to the core. Plus, the overall design and build quality of these guitars are almost on par with their higher-end counterparts. We have spent relentless hours looking for the best acoustic guitars, ranging from dreadnought to electro-acoustic nylon string guitars. We hope you find the model of your choice from the chart above.

Agree with our list or know of any model we might have missed? Let us know.

H6 Zoom Recorder Review

H6 Zoom Recorder

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

Zoom has over 30 years of innovation of sound and sound-related products. H6 Zoom Recorder is one of Zoom’s greatest and most sought-after sound products. Here are the features that make H6 a voice in the market:

Product Description

The package comes in a unit case with an H6 main set, X/Y Microphone, MS Microphone, SD Card, USB Cable, 4 AA batteries, a sponge windscreen, installation DVD and Operation manual.

H6 Zoom Recorder Review

For any hardware; there are several qualities that enable it to sell. Ease of use, H6 Zoom Recorderefficiency, and flexibility are among the top qualities. For H6 recorders, it’s the compatibility and portability.

H6 zoom recorder weighs 10 oz. Its dimensions are 3.06 Inches Wide X 6.01 Inches Deep X and 1.88 High. It has a battery life of 20 to 21 hours. The power supply does not come with the purchase though. You will have to source separately.

H6 has 1-4 connectors and each connector is a 1/8 Inches jack. Its input impedance is 2kl.

H6 Zoom recorder is not only a highly compatible device; it offers almost everything you get in a studio set but in a smaller, portable set. You have everything you require to capture high-quality audio anywhere you want to work from.
It’s suitable for short podcasts, film recordings, reporting, and documentaries. It can also be used by music bands that want to pre-record and experiment before final recording in a studio.

Zoom H6 recorder can fit with middle sides, X/Y or shotgun microphone. You can also use them as an extra pair with complete XLR/TRS combo input set. You can use H6 to record up to 6 tracks concurrently. For instance, you can include a stereo image, a narration, ambiance and several performers’ voices.

Having an extensive I/O (Input / Output) makes H6 zoom recorder highly functional and at a competing level with high-end professional films and television recorders. On the H6 device, there are 4 combo jacks that have a switchable -20 DB pad and a volume dial for each. These are the inputs that allow you to connect various accessories like extra microphones.

This recorder also has a modular expansion port that allows you to connect microphones such as mid-side capsules or the XY (already included). You also get a headphone and a line out on H6 and an inbuilt mono playback speaker for monitoring.

The recording screen though angled and well positioned for readability and mountable to a DSLR camera cannot work for a self-recording.

Field recording provides lots of missed recordings instances; maybe because of the care-free atmosphere. Zoom took care of that by providing the direct recording option. You can connect the device directly to a computer to ensure no data is lost.

H6 has a Bit rate of 16/24 and a frequency of 44.1/48/96kHz. It uses WAV AND MP3. The headphone and audio out jacks measure 3.5mm each.

This devices’ storage capacity is 128 GB boosted by the Support of SDXC. It has no hard drive.

You can check the link to watch the review of  Zoom H6 Audio Recorder 

H6 Recorder Features

• 20 hours of recording using 4 AA batteries (Rechargeable NiMH).

• Top quality MP3s recording – up to 320kbps – for lengthy recordings

• High capacity SDXC- Up to 128 GB direct audio to SD capture. Cards usable as recording media enabling extended recording time span.

• Switchable independent volume controls – 20Db pads enable hands-on level control.

• The onboard monophonic speaker allows recordings review without external gear.

• Alternative USB power option – works whether you have a computer or not. The USB also supports storage in the computer.

• 24 bit/96kHz track professional BWF (Broadcast Wave Format) multi-track audio.

• Additional inputs – accessible through substitute capsules.

• H6 has 4 key inputs that take ¼ Inch. And another 2 accessible by using the top-fixed shell structure. (TRS – Un-balanced tip ring or balanced tip ring sleeve) or balanced XLR inputs

• Complete with on-board Microphone.

• You can record up to 6 tracks simultaneously.

• Color display (LCD) is positioned for easy and convenient readability even while attached on SLR camera.

• H6 can as well be used as an audio interface (2 IN and 2 OUT) or 6 IN and out when it’s connected to USB. A driver for 6 IN will be needed for windows use.

• Additional functions – also available in various H series are pitch adjustments, tuner, playback speed and a metronome.

• A wired remote control is also available, though optional.

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

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Pros
    • H6 is suited with all basic functions for hardware controls which make it highly adaptable
    • It’s easy to swap the in-built microphones using the exchangeable input capsules
    • It is easily portable and fairly priced as compared to its peers.
    • H6 is one of the few SDXC compatible recorders’ in the market. Its recording options are also flexible
  • This zoom recorder has the ability to use 6 microphones (XY and Mid-side already included) and 4 additional ones.

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Cons
    • The menu system tends to hide some valuable adjustment functions which make it complex to use for a new user.
    • Self-recording is not supported by H6. The screen angle cannot
  • 2GB storage capacity is too low for professional work. You are however able to connect directly to a computer using the provided USB cable.

Summary

In comparison with peer recorders like the Roland R-26, H6 proved a highly dependable device when it comes to simultaneous multiple recordings. The audio quality is also excellent and the interchangeable microphones make recording free flowing.

The opportunity to add four extra microphones – each made for a definite function makes H6 quite versatile. In addition, it’s one of the few recorders that are SDXC compatible. One of the things zoom would have considered is to add the compatibility storage level. SDXC’s have a capacity of 2TB but H6 is compatible with SDXC’s with a capacity of 128GB only.

For a new user, H6 may prove to be a bit complex. The controls, buttons, and features in this small device may be overwhelming. You will find the enclosed DVD and manual vital tools in familiarizing yourself with the recorder. You may like to read Zoom H4N Pro Review