Learn to Play This Classic Love Song on Guitar

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It’s February! The month we celebrate all things love. Looking for a way to express your guitar love to your love? Lucky for you, we have the answer: take those guitar skills and strum your special someone a love song. 

Let’s go through all the skills and steps necessary so you can impress your boo with a modern twist on the classic “I Love You Truly” by Carrie Jacobs-Bond. 

How To Play “I Love You Truly”

This classic song has been covered by so many famous artists, but we are loving a variation of a version done by Connie Francis. 

To play this version on your guitar you will need to have the basic chords down. There is one barre chord, Cm, but that is by far the toughest part of the song. The other chords are C, G, Am, E, and F (which is technically a barre chord, but you can play it without barring the 1st fret).

Here’s a quick guide to help you know what to play, when:

How to Read the Guide

Reading the guide is simple and you will pick it up in no time. 

  1. Listen to the song so you can hear the basic rhythm of the song. 
  2. The chord you are supposed to play is over the corresponding lyric in the song. For example, you start playing a C chord, but once the lyric truly starts you will switch to an F chord. 
  3. Don’t get frustrated if it’s hard to read and play at the same time. All you have to do is take it line-by-line until you know it by heart. 
  4. That’s it! If you’re at this step you have successfully learned the song from the guide. Great job!

Practice Your Skills 

We get it! This part is a bit bland. But trust us, the more of a foundation you have and the more comfortable you are with playing, the easier mastering this song for your better half will be. 

Barre Chords: At this point, you know the basic chords, but what about that pesky barre chord. JamPlay has a step-by-step video to follow so you can master playing that Cm– or any other chord for that matter!

Playing and Singing: You won’t get away with not singing these wonderful lyrics to your partner, so you will have to know how to play and sing at the same time. It can be tricky, but no need to worry because JamPlay has a 15 lesson toolkit that makes it easy!

Have fun! This is the most important skill of all to work on. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect; it’s the thought that counts. Even if it’s not perfect, if you follow this guide and play, we know it will be perfect for them.

Head on over to JamPlay and learn the skills you need to to fire up your guitar love. 


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Using JamTracks To Inspire Your Practice Routine

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As most self-taught musicians know, finding quality backing tracks to practice your soloing and accompaniment on can be a major hassle. I have spent countless cumulative hours scouring Youtube looking for a backing track with the right “feel” and, if I’m lucky, in the right key. 

Fortunately for us, Jamplay has the widest and most diverse selection of backing tracks that I’ve ever seen on one site. When I first tried out their JamTracks in Tools, I was blown away with the sheer quantity of tracks. I felt like a kid in a candy store and I had to try them all.

At first I just flitted around the list, mostly selecting by the names of the tracks (I think Amish Funk is what first got my attention). The tracks themselves are usually about five minutes long and far from your typical four-bar loops. These backing tracks have layered, constantly evolving accompaniment that will force you to listen! You’re not playing over some mindless drones. There’s actual musical topography for you to explore and react to for any genre.

Better yet, there’s even an added transcription of the tracks if you want to dive deep into the theory of what you’re playing over. The transcription includes the chord names, the chords written out in standard notation, and the chords in tab. You truly cannot ask for more. Even so, JamTracks still delivers and gives you suggested approaches and scales for the backing tracks

The massive amount of options and opportunity can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re looking for a specific genre to work on. Thankfully there’s an option to filter by Genre, Key, or Instructor. Each genre gets its fair share of the tracks with Rock having the largest selection. 

The actual quality of the recordings needs to be mentioned. I definitely expected it to all sound “computery” and stale but I truly would not be able to tell if these were all programmed or recorded by an actual band. The tones are rich, the drums are vibrant, and I didn’t feel like I was playing along with robots.

So how would one best go about using JamTracks for practicing? These backing tracks could serve many purposes. They could be great “leisure tools” i.e. something to unwind with at the end of your practice session as a kind of reward. Likewise they could also be used to warm up your fingers before getting deep with a metronome or into a specific technique you’re trying to master.

The JamTracks themselves are great tools for learning both theory and song structure. Because the tracks are transcribed, you can actually see the “skeleton of the music” and analyze what’s going on. You can learn new chords, how to use them, and where to use them. Some of the jazz backing tracks get into some pretty advanced theory in terms of following rapidly changing chords, but they avoid the fatal mistake of explaining too much too fast.

 

What I really love about these backing tracks is that they target the different feels of music. What you learn from one feel you can apply to another, regardless of genre. The grooves you learn from Southern Metal are directly related to grooves you’ll use in Funk.

My only word of warning is be wary of getting lost in all the tracks. Use them in a targeted, deliberate manner in order to focus on one particular concept (minor pentatonics, chord changes, etc.) as you pursue larger lesson objectives. Overall these backing tracks are an invaluable tool in your toolbox. They’re not the end all be all of practicing, but they’ll add a lot of fuel to the fire and should accelerate you on your way to musical mastery like few other online resources can.

So with all this in mind, here’s a quick step-by-step guide for maximizing your use out of these JamTracks.

Find Your Target Area

Are you trying to get better at being able to “shred on demand” or are you looking to develop a lighter touch with your music? Setting goals like these should be your first priority in terms of bettering yourself as a musician.

Work Your Way Up

If you’re trying to develop your fluency as a jazz guitarist, don’t start with pan-modal backing tracks (that term sounds just as convoluted as it is). Instead, start with simple 2-5-1’s or Blues Progressions. The same goes for other genres. There’s no shame in slow metal grooves, just as there is no shame in four chord pop songs. We all have to start somewhere.

Analyze The Tracks

As I said before, these aren’t mindless backing tracks, and you’re not some mindless musician. Be mindful about what you’re doing. Ask why those chords are played where they are played. Challenge yourself to play those chords in a different way, in a different place on the neck.

Stick With The Tracks

If you like a certain track, keep working with it! Try to dig out all the possible sounds you can hear from the implications of the chords. Don’t just noodle the same old thing the same old way over the same old track. Really try to stretch the limits of what you can play. Don’t play just what works, play what sounds good to you, and push that to the breaking point.

All in all, it’s important to keep in mind that these tracks are tools. They are not the finished product. Use them, use them as often as you can, but do not confuse them with yourself. We use backing tracks to prepare ourselves to play with other musicians, and if you get in the habit of thinking of all music as a backing track, you’re in for a very rough time indeed.

Ready to try JamTracks? Become a member and join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Try out JamTracks and tap into guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.


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Sonic Paradoxes: 4 Genius Genre Pairings To Explore

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People often say that opposites attract. The same rings true for music. It’s all too easy to get stuck listening to the same old songs and styles. Taking time away from your “anchor genre” to explore other realms of music will not only make you a better, well rounded musician, but also help you bring new and exciting ideas and approaches into your favorite style of music. 

So for this new year of 2021, seek out the opposites! Here I’ve outlined 4 great genre pairings which might sound weird on the surface but actually share many deep similarities.

  1. Metal and Bluegrass

Metal and Bluegrass might seem as far apart on the musical spectrum as one can get, but you only have to look beyond the instrumentation to see the roots below. I’m probably going to step on a lot of toes when I say this, but most Metal and Bluegrass songs are in the same keys. Almost every metal song written is in either E minor, A minor, or D minor (coincidentally the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings of the guitar).

Likewise almost every Bluegrass song is either in G major, C major, or D major (the keys easiest for accompanying banjos, fiddles, and mandolins to solo over). Furthermore, they are both genres that value virtuosity. Most successful metal guitarists are highly proficient, if not technical masters of their instruments. Bluegrass is the same. You cannot fake bluegrass. 

Both genres are also played at lightning fast speeds, often reaching or exceeding 200 BPM. This speed is fundamental to the sound and feel of both genres, and listening to a banjo shred Cripple Creek can be just as exhilarating as listening to Marty Friedman play Tornado of Souls. If you’re looking for a great crossover artist who started in metal and moved into bluegrass, look no further than Billy Strings’ “Dust in a Baggie.”

2. Country and Reggae

Country and Reggae are both charismatic in terms of their geography. Country was born more or less in the lowlands of the south and Reggae got its start in Jamaica. Quite different places right? On the surface it looks like they could never work together.

But I challenge you to take your favorite country songs and play them with a choppy, off beat rhythm and sing them with a more laid back voice. You’ll be surprised just how good it can sound. 

Don’t believe me? Check out the Toots and the Maytals version of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” With a few different words here and there and a Reggae inflected rhythm, the entire feel of the song shifts but the spirit stays the same. 

Reggae and Country are both emotive genres. They’re happy and sad at the same time. They focus on the drama of daily life in their respective regions. By blending these two approaches together, you’ll catch a glimpse of commonalities between all human experience. THAT will make you a better musician, more than anything else.

3. Rock and Jazz

It’s no secret that Jazz is not nearly as popular as it used to be sixty years ago. The terms “elevator music” and “easy listening” have banished away the thought that Jazz can be as exciting or even as intense as Rock can be.

Spoiler Alert: it can be. 

The loud, outrageous drum fills we so often characterize with Rock got their start with drummers like Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach, and Buddy Rich. The electric guitar and the idea of distortion came about in part as an answer to the coarse tones of the saxophone in terms of its presence and intensity. The walking bass line pioneered by Jazz bassists made a natural translation into Rock through players ranging from Paul McCartney to Geddy Lee.

Because Jazz and Rock both share the Blues as their template, their approaches to soloing often overlap.

If you can solo over the twelve bar blues, you’re off to a great start in feeling comfortable in both genres. Want some help? Check out the JamPlay video lesson to help you dive deeper into improvisation.

 

 

Soloing Over the 12 Bar Blues

Jazz and Rock were also both reviled by the majority of the public when they made their debut on the world, but then eventually came into vogue as dominant genres. Jazz might seem smooth and clean on the outside, but don’t judge a genre by its cover.

If you want to hear Jazz be as groovy and as powerful as Rock, go listen to John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and imagine the saxophone is instead a guitar being played by David Gilmour.

4. Funk and Hip Hop

Out of everything we’ve covered here today, Funk and Hip Hop have the most in common, and they should. Hip Hop is a direct descendant of Funk. Hip Hop began in house parties in Harlem in the early 70’s where the first DJ’s played James Brown records and “rapped” over the beats while everybody danced.

People might complain that Hip Hop has strayed too far away from its roots in physical instrumentation (i.e. too many drum tracks, programmed sounds) but one doesn’t have to look far to hear great artists like Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar, and The Roots blend the flow of Hip Hop with the rhythm of Funk. It’s a match made in heaven.Guitar has a place in both genres. But it’s a challenging place, because for once the guitar usually doesn’t take a lead role. If you want to be brave and experience an overlooked option with your instrument, learning funk rhythms on guitar will set you well on the road of Funk and Hip Hop.

There’s no time like the present to listen to as much music as you can, as much as you can. The genre pairings I’ve talked about here today are only a few of the many different options out there. You can learn a little from everything because, at its core, music is music. Genre is only a matter of application.

Make 2021 the year you learn to play guitar FOR REAL. We have 7,000+ guitar lessons and over 100 artists and instructors who can help you on your learning path. Explore content to help you get started and join JamPlay today. 


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4 Guitar Effects to Change Up Your Guitar Sound

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Easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of guitar playing is manipulating the sound of your playing through guitar effects. From searing distortion-driven lead lines to thick warbly rhythm tones, there’s almost no limit to the creativity you can use in creating your own unique guitar sound. In fact, the options can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what each effect does to your sound. With the new year coming up, it’s a great time to consider what effects to add to your arsenal. 

Four of the most versatile effects follow. Find yours here. 

Distortion

Distortion is probably the first go-to effect for most guitar players because it can give your rhythm lines a crisp crunchy sound to drive songs in a variety of genres, such as hard rock or even pop, or give your lead lines a screaming sustain, perfect for guitar solos. A distortion pedal increases the gain of the audio signal coming from your electric guitar so that it’s boosted beyond its peak, creating harmonic overtones that normally don’t sound very good, but create just the sound guitar players want when applied to guitar tones. Most distortion pedals include controls for the actual gain you apply to the signal, the output volume, and a control for EQ, allowing you to manipulate the tone of the distorted sound. 

Many amps themselves include controls for gain so that you can add distortion without using an external pedal, or you can combine a distortion pedal with the gain on your amp to create an even more distorted sound than you could with either alone. 

Ready to dig deeper? Watch our JamPlay videos, Anything Goes, Crank up the Gain  and Amp Gain Overview from the JamPlay course, Overdrive and Distortion, part of the 2020 Gear, Tone, and Studio Toolkit. The JamPlay Practice Plan Toolkit includes 10 lessons on distortion and overdrive techniques. Get a toolkit of your choice FREE with the annual membership to JamPlay.

Because distortion is so versatile, it’s important to understand the individual components involved with creating distortion so that you have more control over your sound to create the tone you want.

Delay

Delay is also one of the most commonly used effects among guitarists. A guitar signal is recorded and repeated, creating an echo effect. You have the ability to control the speed at which the signal is repeated. Quicker repeats create a slapback effect because the note or notes will be repeated immediately or almost immediately after you play them on your guitar. Slower repeats create a cascading wash of sound. You can even create a reverb effect, creating the sound of playing in a large room. Delay can be used to thicken up guitar rhythms, especially if you’re the only guitar player playing in a group, or you can use it to create shimmering lead lines for guitar solos.

Compression

A compressor pedal can be really helpful if you’re playing live performances. Essentially, a compressor evens out the dynamics of your playing, making loud moments sound softer and soft moments sound louder. If you’re playing a soft single-note riff, for example, the compressor will boost the signal so that it’s able to be heard. Or if you accidentally strike a note too hard, the compressor keeps that note from unintentionally standing out from the rest. Guitar players use compression to help their guitar tone to not get lost in a mix with a live band. It can also be used to add sustain to your guitar leads.

Phaser

A phaser pedal was a favorite effect used by Eddie Van Halen and can also be heard in the songs of Incubus and Hoobastank, among others. This swirling sound effect is created by duplicating the input signal from a guitar and combining a dry signal with a duplicated signal pushed through an all-pass filter, which cuts and boosts frequencies, creating a sound that modulates in and out of phase. This effect sounds great with single-note riffs and can be combined with a clean tone or distortion. Most phasers include a control for the speed or rate of the effect. A faster rate creates a more warbly sound, while a slower rate creates slow dips and peaks in the sound.

Each of these effects can give you an incredible amount of control and creativity over your sound, and they’re used by some of the best guitar players around. 

Get ready to use effects to take it to the next level. Make 2021 your year of guitar. 


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amber russell jamplay event

JamPlay Holiday Concert & Learning Series Festive Fingerstyle with Amber Russell

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Join us as our special virtual holiday concert and learning series continues with renowned performer and composer Amber Russell for JamPlay’s final FREE live studio concert and learning session of the season. Amber’s unique playing style is something to behold, so you don’t want to miss this private concert.   We’ll also have Amber answer a few audience questions and share her advice for creative and courageous playing. And don’t forget there will be gear giveaways and more prizes to wrap up the night!

This even took place on Tuesday, December 22 at 9 pm EST. Here is the full video:

Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.


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Jamplay Holiday Challenge: Learn We Three Kings Before Christmas

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If you’re a musician, your family is going to ask you to play a Christmas song for them. They’re expecting you to sit down on the couch by the tree and play something on that new guitar they bought you. They don’t realize that you loathe being paraded out in front of the family for every holiday get-together.

So Perform we Must 

But it is our sworn duty as musicians to perform, and so perform we must. So what do we play? Of all the songs of Yuletide, none can equal We Three Kings in terms of melody and mood. This is a dark song, almost foreboding, with a beautiful melody and relatively simple chords that most beginners should put on their hit list to learn.

But before you go running off looking up the tab to We Three Kings, let’s go over the song itself and explore a few different ways to approach learning it and adapting it to fit any style you want.

But First… 

First thing’s first, this song is in the key of G with a dominant third and it makes use of almost all of the chords in that key. So before doing anything else make sure to learn all the chords in the key of G. In case you don’t remember they are (in ascending order): 

G major 

A minor  

B minor  (for this song we’ll play a B7)

C major 

D major 

E minor 

Gb minor7 b5

You won’t need to use that final chord and REMEMBER: the B minor (the third chord) is dominant in this song, so it’s a B7.

If you can internalize all that, you’ve just learned a very important lesson in music theory and now you know all the chords for We Three Kings! Now let’s examine the structure. 

The song is a simple verse-chorus repeated ad infinitum. For beginners, the structure of the verse and chorus might be a bit complicated to take in all at once. Here’s what I do whenever I want to learn a song that is complicated to me.

Learn How To Sing It First

Learning and internalizing a melody to where you can sing it on a whim is the single most effective step when learning a new song. It means you’ll know how it goes before you know how to play it and generally it’s very easy to accomplish. Just practice singing along to a recording of the song while you’re in the car or doing chores or at the DMV and you’ll get it stuck in your head in no time.

Work Small

Unless you’re an advanced player, I’d advise against trying to learn this song all at once. Instead break it up into easily manageable pieces that you can learn and internalize gradually. This approach might take you twenty minutes, it might take you twenty days, but the point is you will inevitably learn the song.

Understand The Structure

We know all the chords that are in this song so let’s review how these chords are ordered to make the melody.

Okay, so the first verse of this song is typically played:

E minor /// /// B7 /// Eminor ///

Those little dashes represent beats, and as you can see they’re grouped in beats of 3 which means this song is in ¾, like a waltz.

Practice getting the feel of that chord progression under your fingers by playing along to a recording. Then move on to the next bit which goes like this:

Source: https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/top-hymns-chords/we-three-kings-crd.htm&sa=D&ust=1607724922686000&usg=AOvVaw3VfbnZzOsMiBcfWXJJEhjd

That’s the whole song!

Take all those parts and practice them on their own, then slowly add them together till you can play without needing the recording as accompaniment. When you’re ready to add your doubtlessly perfect, beautiful singing voice into the mix just follow the same sequence of steps you used to learn to play the song in the first place: piece by piece. 

If this is your first time singing while playing then you’ll probably find it incredibly difficult, as it is for everyone their first time. Typically people will complain that they can’t keep their voice independent from their hands and that’s exactly the wrong attitude to have. There is no independence between your hands and your voice, they work together and share the rhythm and the melody. 

Think of your voice as part of the rhythm
Pay attention to where the words land in relation to your strumming hand and your fretting hand and think of them as all working together! That’s the best advice I can give you, learning to sing and play simultaneously is all about your mindset.

From Christmas Song to Rock Song
If you’re feeling mischievous, this song can easily be translated out of its Christmas hymn style into a more… interesting genre. If you want to take this in a rock direction, change the time from ¾ to 4/4 but keep the chord progression the same. 

If you want to go even farther down the rock spectrum, just play all the chords as muted power chords, speed up the tempo, and throw some E minor pentatonic solos over the chord progression. 

There’s nothing more fun than taking a known song and twisting and mutating it into a monster of your own creation. If you have any effects pedals, go crazy with those and try to take the song into a new direction. Try changing the chords around and inventing new melodies. It might sound childish but this is how new songs are created and you might just find you’ll like your version better than the original! So listen to it, learn it, and then go beyond it, all by Christmas Day.

Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.



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trevor gordon hall jamplay event

JamPlay Holiday Concert & Learning Series

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Join us for a special virtual holiday concert and learning series. Register now for exclusive access to our JamPlay Holiday events. This month, we’re getting festive with 3 learning sessions featuring some of our favorite JamPlay instructors, private performances, simple song lessons, gear giveaways and other fun prizes. Register today — it’s FREE!

Our first event in the series, Holiday Harmonics with Trevor Gordon Hall, took place Tuesday, December 8, 2020. 

Watch the full video here:

Acclaimed fingerstyle artist Trevor Gordon Hall joined us for our first live studio concert and learning session. Trevor played some of his original pieces for us, discussed his style and creative process, and answered a few audience questions.

Upcoming Events 

Festive Fingerstyle with Amber Russell, Tuesday, December 22 at 9 pm EST
Register Here

Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.


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10 Guitar Lover Gift Ideas for Under $50

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If you have a guitar player in your life, and you’re wondering what to get them, you’re in luck because guitar players love new gear and accessories to go along with their instrument. Below you’ll find 10 gifts under $50 that the guitar player in your life is sure to love.

Suction Cup Smartphone Holder for Acoustic, Electric, or Classical Guitar

Price: $22.99 at Reverb

 

Smartphone technology has revolutionized so many aspects of our lives, from communication to productivity. Guitar playing is no exception. With apps for recording, tuning a guitar, or simply displaying a guitar player’s favorite guitar tabs, it can be a hassle to try to position the phone just right to be able to see the screen. With this super convenient smartphone holder that attaches to the face of the guitar with a suction cup, looking at the phone screen while playing becomes a breeze.

 

Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

Price: $13.99 at Reverb

During a performance, it can be really frustrating to discover the guitar is out of tune. It can also be a real challenge to tune a guitar in a loud environment. But with this clip-on tuner, a guitar player can quickly, easily, and accurately tune their guitar by just playing the strings, letting the tuner sense the vibrations, and tightening or loosening the string according to the tuner’s instructions. 

Dunlop Microphone Stand Pick Holder

Price: $3.49 at Reverb

It’s pretty common to drop the pick in the midst of a performance, but this mic stand pick holder makes replacing the pick easy and convenient. With the ability to hold up to 6 picks, the guitar player in your life will thank you for solving this common frustration.

HQMaster Guitar Pick Punch Pick Maker

Price: $25.94 at Reverb

 

When a guitar player runs out of guitar picks, there’s a more convenient solution than having to drop everything and drive to the music store to buy more. With this guitar pick puncher, any piece of thin plastic can be turned into a guitar pick in a flash.

 

 

 

 

Marshall MS-2 Micro Stack Amp

Price: $49.99 at Reverb

For the electric guitar player in your life, this small practice amp makes playing on the go fun and convenient. Modeled after one of Marshall’s more popular guitar amps, this amp has both clean and overdrive tone capabilities.

 

Martin Suede Acoustic Guitar Strap 

Price: $32 at Reverb

For the acoustic guitar player in your life, this guitar strap is solidly constructed, and Martin is one of the top brands in the acoustic guitar market. The strap is made from genuine suede leather and features an embossed C. F. Martin logo. 

2020 Parlor Acoustic Collectible Holiday Ornament

Price: $24.99 at Reverb

Modeled after Paul Reed Smith’s popular Parlor acoustic guitar and handmade from solid wood, this ornament will make an excellent addition to any guitar player’s holiday tree or even to display all year round. The ornament is intricately designed with all the details you’d expect from this top-of-the-line guitar maker.

 

Taylor Crelicam Ebony Guitar Slide

Price: $19.99 at Reverb

This ebony guitar slide from Taylor Guitars is a warm-sounding alternative to glass and metal guitar slides. This is a great gift for any guitar player that enjoys more bluesy or country steel guitar styles.

Guitar Tablature Manuscript Paper

Price: $6.89 at Reverb

For the guitar player in your life that enjoys creating original guitar music, this is a perfect gift that will be extremely useful. With both music staffs, guitar tab lines, and chord chart diagrams, a guitar player can record original ideas on paper to remember later or transcribe for other players.

Dunlop Guitar Pick Variety Pack

Price: $3.79 at Amazon

Guitar picks are a necessity for almost any guitar player, but the choice of guitar pick is unique to each player. With a variety pack, you can’t go wrong because it will give the guitar player in your life the opportunity to try out a few different picks to see what they like best.

 

 

Ready for some guitar love? Drop a hint for someone to treat you with a JamPlay gift card or treat yourself. 


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5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Guitar This Holiday Season

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With the holiday season coming up, it’s a great time to take up a new hobby by getting a new guitar. Or if you’ve been playing awhile, maybe it’s time to add a new guitar to your playing collection. Either way, there are some important questions to ask before purchasing a new guitar.

 

  1. Acoustic or Electric?

    Whether or not you buy an acoustic or electric really depends on the style of music you want to play. If you’re wanting to play rock or heavy metal, an electric guitar is an obvious choice because it would be hard to get the crunch and sustain you want out of an acoustic guitar. But if you’re more interested in country or folk music, you probably want to go with an acoustic guitar. If you’re interested in blues music, the choice might be more difficult because there are many great blues songs that use both acoustic and electric guitars to drive the song. You also want to consider if you want to play primarily rhythm or lead guitar. Many songs have an acoustic guitar driving the rhythm with an electric guitar playing lead lines over it.
    If you’re buying an acoustic guitar, you also want to consider whether you want one with on board electronics or not. An acoustic guitar with a pickup can be plugged straight into a sound system. Without electronics, if you want to play live before a crowd, you’ll have to play next to a microphone to project the sound.
  2.  Single pickups or humbuckers

    If you’re playing electric guitar, one of the choices you want to consider is the type of pickup configuration you want. This also depends on the style of music you want to play. Big boomy rhythm lines would benefit more from the thick sound of humbucker pickups. But if you’re playing primary lead lines or single-note riffs, single pickups tend to cut through better than humbuckers. Some guitars even have a configuration of both types of pickups, and you can toggle between them as you play.
  3. New or Used?

    New guitars are great because they’re still sleek and shiny, and no one else has played it before you. But just because a guitar is used doesn’t mean it’s not just as good as a new instrument. In fact, many older guitars are desired by players because of their unique level of quality and craftsmanship. Of course, if you’re buying a collectible, you have to expect to spend a lot of money. Buying a used instrument could also save you some money. Sometimes someone gets a new instrument and decides to sell their old one, giving you the opportunity to buy a perfectly well-made guitar for less than a new one. If you do decide to buy a used guitar, it’s a good idea to have it checked out by a professional guitar tech first to make sure it’s in good condition. If you’re not able to get a guitar tech to look at it, you can check out the video below to learn some of the most common guitar problems to watch out for.

4. How much are you willing to spend?

The higher the quality of materials used to make the guitar, such as the wood it’s constructed from or the electronics installed on it, the more money you can expect to spend on the instrument. For example, a guitar built from alder or ash will tend to be less expensive than a guitar built from maple or rosewood. Though the sound is impacted by higher quality materials, most find the differences to be negligible for moderate priced guitars. If you’re just looking for a beginner guitar, some of the lower end guitars will probably meet your needs, but if you’re interested in performance, you probably want to spend a little more for a quality instrument.

5. What accessories do you need?

If you’re buying a new guitar, chances are you’ll need a few accessories to go with it. Guitar picks are an obvious necessity unless you’re primarily a finger picker. If you’re playing electric, you’ll obviously need an amplifier and a guitar chord or two. You might want some effects pedals as well and some additional guitar cords. If you plan to travel with your guitar, you might want to get a guitar case. 

If you’re in the market to buy a new guitar this holiday season, these questions will help you make a more wise and informed decision to get the best guitar for your money.

Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.

 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

 

 


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5 Great Holiday Gifts For The Classic Rock Guitarist

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The holidays are right around the corner and if you’re worrying about what to get for the musicians in your life then fear no more, because musicians always want something. Obviously, buying someone the guitar of their dreams will simultaneously drain your bank account and win their undying affection, but there are plenty of other options that are just as appreciated to help keep the music playing.

    1. Picks
      Picks are made for the sole purpose of being lost. They escape into separate dimensions of time and space and there is no hope of finding them. So if you want to help a guitarist out, get them as many picks as you can. Martin makes some nice picks for a very reasonable price and will be greatly appreciated by anyone who loses as many picks as I do.
    2. Strings
      Strings are one of those hidden costs of music that nobody talks about. Before buying strings as a gift, make sure to find out what kind of strings the person you have in mind prefers. For the best deals on strings, hit up reverb.com and you’ll find no shortage of choices.
    3. Cables
      Again, we’re looking at the mundane side of music that actually goes a long way to help make the life of a musician easier. Guitarists lose cables as often as they lose picks, so gifting a good pack of ¼ inch instrument cables will be a godsend for any musician to unwrap. Orange makes their own high quality cables that will make any guitarist’s day to receive.
    4. Starter Guitars
      You’ve talked it over with your kid and you’re 90% sure they’re committed to learning guitar. But you don’t want to go and drop a bunch of money on something they might give up in a month, or possibly even damage. Turn to the Baby Taylor BT-1. These acoustic guitars are well made and easy to play, perfect for beginners. Worst case scenario, if your kid doesn’t want to keep playing they have great resale value. For your electric-minded prospective players that want a Les Paul but you’re not willing to put down $1,500 dollars,  Epiphone  (which is to Gibson what Chevrolet is General Motors) makes very high quality guitars that are durable and great for beginners.
    5. Starter Amps
      What good is a guitar if you can’t hear it? The right amp can make the life of a beginner guitarist much easier and, if chosen correctly, can last them years before they’ll need an upgrade. Take my advice, get something simple and effective. A lot of amps nowadays come with a gazillion effects that
      you’ll almost never use. Marshall’s MG15R is a perfect beginner amp for any guitarist wanting to go the classic, hard rock route. The Orange Crush 20RT is also a great choice and frankly will make any beginner at least look like a professional. These amps are no joke and with 20 watts of power they’d even be good for small gigs.

They say it’s the thought that counts, and when it comes to gear that’s true. Most musicians have to contend with some extent of self-doubt. By getting them a meaningful, useful guitar gift for the holidays, you’re supporting them both physically and emotionally and that means more than anything. 

That first guitar can set them on a path in life they’ll never regret, so make it count.

Photos by ROMBO from Pexels


Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill.

Become a member today at JamPlay.com.


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