Have you always dreamed of becoming great guitarists, but have you never had the courage to make the leap and take guitar lessons?
Thanks to this article, you will discover everything you need to know about this popular instrument, from the manufacture of its strings to how to change and tune them. And at the end of the article, we also offer you the chords of a song in vogue to allow you to play it and sing it at the top of your lungs with friends.
Everything you need to know about guitar strings
Before learning how to play the guitar, you should understand how the strings are made and how they work, the real heart of the instrument. The type of strings and the construction material depends on the type of guitar you want to play:
The thinnest strings of classical guitar and flamenco guitar (i.e. the strings of MI cantino, SI and SOL) are usually uncoated. It is basically a single nylon filament, which is sometimes strengthened with a thin plastic coating. The three low strings, on the other hand, are each composed of a dozen nylon strands fused together to obtain greater thickness.
If, on the other hand, we take an acoustic guitar, the higher strings are usually composed of a simple steel core of different thicknesses, while in the lower strings the core is covered with an alloy of bronze, brass, phosphor bronze or other metal alloys.
Electric guitar strings are generally manufactured in the same way as acoustic guitar strings, but the core of the string can also be made of nickel-plated steel, pure nickel or other nickel alloys.
In the past, the manufacture of strings required a great deal of know-how, but the transition to industrial production has greatly simplified the process and cut costs. However, the dynamics remained the same: the core of the rope is braided along its entire length and then, if necessary, coated with other materials.
But what is the name of the guitar strings and what are the corresponding sounds? Those who play guitar know that it is actually just one question, because the strings bear the name of the note they produce if plucked empty.
Here’s an easy scheme to remember the corresponding strings and notes, from the finest to the thickest:
1st string: MI cantino – (And in the Anglo-Saxon denomination of the notes)
2nd rope: SI – (B)
3rd rope: SOL – (G)
4th rope: RE – (D)
5^cord: LA – (A)
6th Rope: MI – (E)
Obviously, by enrolling in a guitar course, this will be the first information that you will have to store. Surprise your teacher by introducing yourself to the first guitar lesson with the names of the strings already imprinted in your memory!
The instruments to tune your guitar
What is a tuning? This is the process of adjusting a musical instrument to harmonize and tune its notes. Basically, the goal is that the sounds produced by the instrument are in tune and in tune with each other.
As we have seen before, modern guitar – whether classical, acoustic or electric – is built so that its six strings play, from the finest to the thickest, the notes MI-SI-SOL-RE-LA-MI. Tuning the guitar means making sure that each string, if played empty, is perfectly in tune with the expected note. All these elements will be taught to you during your guitar course.
Experienced guitarists can recognize notes by ear and tune the guitar without any instruments. But for beginners, such a process can produce catastrophic results!
Fortunately, from tuning forks to tuners and smartphone applications, there are plenty of tools to help guitarists tune their guitar correctly.
On the market, for example, you’ll find many different types of tuners, from universal ones for electric and acoustic guitars to those for large environments or pedals. And the same goes for the apps to download to your phone: there are free, paid, simple, multifunction, etc. …
Over time and practice the musical sensitivity of your ear will increase, but in the meantime experiment with different support tools to understand which one is best for you! There’s something for everyone on the budget too: from free apps to tuners costing over €100! A universal tuner is perhaps the most suitable for beginners, however, and in music stores you can find several models at affordable prices.
How to change strings
Learning to tune your guitar won’t do you any good if your strings are old and worn out, because even if tuned they will produce a cacophonic sound.
There are numerous signs that the time has come to replace the strings. The first, and most obvious, is when the string breaks. In this case you will have no choice and you will be forced to at least replace the string in question to continue playing your favorite songs.
Another risk is, as far as metal strings are concerned, oxidation. This natural process is inevitable in the long run, but it can be significantly accelerated by factors such as humidity or excessive perspiration of the hands.
But even if you pay the utmost attention, it is inevitable that over time the strings will be damaged and that the quality of the sound produced will suffer. So try to be careful and to stretch out your ear to see if the time has come to change them.
Some guitarists prefer to change the strings one by one, but we recommend that you change them all together, as this way you can take advantage of it to clean your guitar thoroughly before mounting the new strings.
Here are the steps to follow to change the strings of your guitar:
- Remove the strings: loosen them until they are no longer tightened by turning the keys in an antimeridian direction. Then choose whether to loosen them completely (longer method) or cut them with scissors or a knife.
- Remove the pirouettes: the pirouettes have attachments that look like black or white buttons and allow the strings to be fixed inside the guitar. If you can, remove them and clean them.
- Clean the guitar: Take advantage of the opportunity to clean your instrument! Use a sponge or cloth to remove dust from the sound box, neck and keys. Be careful not to use unsuitable products, or you risk damaging the wood and consequently your instrument.
- Prepare the new strings: make sure to place each string in the correct order.
- Insert the new strings: the most common method is to start with the thinnest string and continue towards the thickest. Start by inserting the end of the string into the hole in the pyrene, then put the pyrene back in place while holding the string. Tighten each string to the corresponding key and insert the attachment into the keyhole.