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How to Play Electric Guitar

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The electric guitar is one of the most influential instruments in modern music and pop culture. Throughout the years, electric guitar playing has become an art form in its own right.

Since the invention of the first Stromberg-Voisinet electric guitar in 1928, musicians and manufacturers have been making new gear and developing techniques to push the art form to its limits. And if you want in on this action, here are the first things you need learn and understand.

Basic Gear

You can start with basically any working electric guitar and amplifier or amp combo – as long as all the essential parts are in good working condition. If not, have a pro look at and fix your gear before you proceed. Familiarise yourself with all the names and functions of your guitar and amp’s different parts. Learn how to properly connect them using cables. Ensure that they’re always in good working condition. Apart from technique, guitar maintenance is one of the core skills essential to great playing, and this includes tuning your guitar.

Learning tuning

Once you have a working electric guitar, the next step is to ensure that it’s in tune. The thickest or topmost string is also known as the 6th or low E string. Right under that is the 5th string – and so on until the last and thinnest of the bunch which is the 1st.

Understanding this numbering system is essential not just for tuning, but also for reading and playing guitar music. Each open string from the 6th to the 1st (top-to-bottom) should be respectively tuned to the following notes: low E, A, D, G, B, and high E.

This is much easier to do if you have a Korg tuner or any other tuning device or app. That being said, you should definitely learn to tune your guitar by ear.

Reading tabs

 

Guitar tablature or tabs are precise and practical musical notations for playing guitar. Each tab has six horizontal lines. The topmost line represents the 1st or the high E string – the bottom string on your guitar. The second line represents the 2nd or B string, and so on until the last line which is the 6th or low E string.

In short, the lines on guitar tabs correspond to the strings you see while looking down at the guitar in your hands. Meanwhile, the numbers and different symbols found on these lines dictate which notes to play, how to play them, and other factors. Understanding the language of tabs is essential to learning guitar chords, techniques, and songs.

Auxiliary gear

 

Apart from your basic guitar and amp, there’s various auxiliary gear that can help you in your journey. A simple guitar strap can improve guitar position and allow you to focus on learning techniques.

Using a guitar slide, you can start exploring how pressing hard objects against your strings can modify their tone. Effects pedals or stompboxes are popular auxiliary tools for tone modification as well and are considered by many to be the main advantage of using electric instead of acoustic guitars.

Nowadays, there’s no shortage of affordable stompboxes for beginners to start exploring effects. Low-budget Ammoon pedals include simple compressor and gain effects to more complex delay, tremolo, loop, or reverb stompboxes.

There are even equaliser pedals that allow you to mix your tone on the fly. These are just some of the auxiliary gear that can help you explore the many possibilities of your electric guitar.

Get familiar with your basic gear, learn to tune your guitar and read tabs, and don’t be afraid to explore different effects and techniques. Although it will take more than these tips for you to become one of India’s most prominent musicians, keeping them in mind can set you on the right path to guitar greatness.

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