When you get on the path of learning how to play an instrument, sooner or later you arrive at a point when you want to also record your playing. There are plenty of options for sound recording software out there and which one is right for you depends on what your goal is. In order to help you, we have gathered below the best software for free and also the best professional picks. 

Free sound recording software

1. Audacity

Audacity is a free music recording software that is great for beginners as it has a ton of effects, high-quality sound, loaded with plugins and many editing features. It is easy to understand and once you get the hang of it, you can record any audio you want. You can even produce professional studio-quality audio if you have the supporting hardware for recording high-quality audio.

2. Pro Tools First

Pro Tools is the ultimate mixing tool. But it’s not cheap. So a good thing is there’s Pro Tools First – the free limited access version of this top recording program. Since it is the free version you are limited in what you can create, but it’s perfect for singers, songwriters, and musicians just starting out on a limited budget and who want to get a taste of some of the best recording software out there.

3. Garageband

Garageband comes free with any Mac computer and can cover most recording needs. It is more powerful than you’d expect from a free piece of software and is a perfect centerpiece for any budget home studio. You know how Apple is really good at making things look pretty while still maintaining high functionality – GarageBand is just like that.

4. Ocenaudio

Ocenaudio is another free, cross-platform audio recording software that has many amazing features for audio editing. It is a little complicated to understand at first but once you get the hang of it, you will appreciate how highly intuitive it is and its simple interface. It also features a powerful library.

5. Traverso

Traverso has an easy to use interface combined with innovative mouse and keyboard shortcuts that help quickly perform audio recording tasks. It is developed for beginners so they can easily learn and get onto recording music. Traverso’s mastering controls, efficient user interface, and intuitive recording performance make it stand out among the rest.

Professional sound recording software

1. Ableton Live 10

This is one of the most beloved DAW (Digital audio workstation) recording softwares on the market. It gives a long free trial (90 days!) for you to make up your mind, with more features than you’ll need for any simple audio recording project with enough for a full-on music project if you upgrade. Probably the best feature is the variety of options that it gives – you can record on multiple tracks with this industry-standard software, as well as sequence MIDI files. A distinctive feature is also the abundance of samples that it offers, with more than 5,000 sounds to choose from, as well as 57 different effects. Overall it is a reliable, safe choice for home producers of all levels, but it’s especially good for novices looking to experiment.

2. Avid Pro Tools 12

Avid Pro Tools 12 is another of the best softwares a musician could ask for. The sound processing with this software is easy, fast and good. It’s one of the most powerful software products available on the market today for recording music, mixing, editing and composing. The DAW package contains a variety of virtual instruments, including, drums, pianos, synths, and other sample instruments. But keep in mind you need a powerful computer system to support this program, unless you go for the ‘First’ version. Definitely check out the requirements before purchasing it.

3. Logic Pro X

Apple has two DAWs in its stable: Garageband, a veritable staple discussed before, and Logic Pro. Logic shares its user-friendly design philosophy with Garageband. If you started with Garageband, you’ll find a lot to love in Logic Pro X.  fantastic built-in plugins that give you a suite of all the tools you need to create great recordings right away. Couple that with intuitive MIDI and audio editing and a powerful sample editor, Logic Pro X strikes a perfect balance between functionality and ease of use. 

4. Image-Line FL Studio 20

FL Studio is an outstanding DAW, with full-featured, professional-grade native plugins. The sum of the functionality, pricing and user interface results in a really great DAW for beginners and pros alike, delivering everything that every other DAW brings but with its own unique workflow.

5. Cubase 

Cubase has been around for a long time and remains popular to this day. It’s innovative, trustworthy, and stable.  Although this DAW isn’t the easiest software to use right out of the box, after a little learning, you’ll be able to make the most out of the startling number of features that it offers. You’ll soon have the tools you need, whether you’re in the studio or performing live.

If you want some further reading materials on the topic, check out also these articles here and here. For more guides, tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of guitar (or ukulele) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

If you have been playing guitar for a little while, you’ve probably heard of harmonics – those high-pitched or bell-like notes. You definitely have heard them in songcs by bands like U2, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and many others. If you are already familiar with the topic – read along and go through the basics again. If not – buckle up and dive into this new technique. 

Harmonics are actually played every time you pluck a note. Most of the time, however, you do not hear them. What you hear is the fundamental (sometimes called the first harmonic). The fundamental is the loudest sound produced, but it is accompanied by several harmonics. When a string is plucked, it creates vibrations from the guitar’s bridge to the nut and thus many other overtones – or harmonics – are created as a result of shorter frequencies along the fretboard. There are various ways to produce guitar harmonics. You can play natural harmonics which are harmonic instances that occur naturally on the fretboard as well as artificial harmonics. The latter uses techniques that allow you to play harmonics no matter where on the fretboard you are.

Natural Harmonics Vs. Artificial Harmonics

It’s important to know that there is a difference between the types of harmonics you can play on your guitar.   The natural harmonics, also known as “open-string harmonics are played on an open string, while the artificial harmonics are when you play a harmonic on a fretted string. Although all harmonics are actually artificial, the latter technique is the one commonly referred to as “playing an artificial harmonic”. 

Natural Harmonics

The easiest way to produce a harmonic sound is through the use of natural harmonics which occur at various locations across the fretboard. However, the most common and distinct natural harmonics are located on the 12th, 7th, and 5th frets.

Natural harmonics are created by making the string vibrate in fractions. For example, half of the length fraction results in a 12th fret harmonic, a third of the length fraction results in a 7th fret harmonic, a fourth of the length fraction results in a 5th fret harmonic, etc.

Here is also a fun fact: When you play a harmonic note, you’re playing the same note as the fretted or open note. So a harmonic on the 12th fret of the A string is the same note as fretting the 12th fret on the A string. A harmonic on the 5th fret results in a 2 octave higher note than the open string you’re playing it on. And lastly – a harmonic on the 7th fret results in an octave higher note than the fretted 7th fret.

When it comes time to actually playing natural guitar harmonics there are a couple of things to be aware of: to isolate the harmonic, you’ll want to very lightly press on the string at either the 5th, 7th, or 12th position (or any other position you want to experiment with). Be sure to place your finger above the metal part of the fret – this will produce the clearest sounding harmonic rather than if your finger is in between two metal frets. For beginners, you may find it easier to actually pluck a string first and then lightly touch the string with the tip of your finger at the 5th, 7th, or 12th fret. Alternatively, if you rather place your finger on the string first, you may find that the harmonic rings more clearly if immediately after you pluck the string, you quickly remove your finger.

Apart from natural harmonics, which are somewhat restrictive, you can also use artificial harmonics which allow you to produce that signature high-pitched harmonic sound, anywhere on the guitar. Here are 3 different types of artificial harmonics you can play:

Touch Harmonics

Simply fret a note on one of the strings. Place your right-hand index finger (for right-handed guitarists) on the note twelve frets above the fretted note, as if you’re going to chime that note. So your finger should be over the fretwire. With both the note fretted and the right index finger in place,  use either your thumb or a pick and pluck the string – then you will be able to hear the harmonic quality of the note. You will produce a note which is an octave higher than the one you’re fretting.

Tap harmonics

Tap harmonics are the same as touch harmonics up until the “pluck the string” part.  You fret a note, but then tap the fret twelve frets higher than the note you’re fretting.  Try to do so in a way where your finger quickly touches the string exactly above the corresponding metal fret and then is removed.

Pinch Harmonics

This technique is definitely the most difficult type of harmonics to play. They are done best while holding the guitar pick in a way that less of the pick is exposed so that there is less distance between the end of the pick and your thumb. What you should aim for is plucking a string with your guitar pick while almost simultaneous lightly dampening the string with your thumb. Once your thumb dampens the string, it will create that “scream” sound known as a pinch harmonic.

Guitar harmonics are just another technique you can add to your guitar skills toolbox. Getting them right can definitely take time and practice, however doing so allows you to create more unique sounds. It is best if you try all guitar harmonic techniques to see which ones you like the most.

If you want some further reading materials on the topic, check out also these articles here and here. For more guides, tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of guitar (or ukulele) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

Doesn’t it sound awesome to be one of those guitarists who can just show up and jam? No sheet music, no chord charts, no tutorials… It seems like magic how they can play every song – even such they hear for the very first time. But worry not – you don’t need any superpowers to be able to do that as well. What actually is going on is that their capable fingers are paired with well-trained ears. Keep on reading to discover why your ears are the key to that seemingly-magical ability and how to start training them.

What Is Learning By Ear?

Learning by ear is basically the process of learning a piece of music without any written music. It comes from the tradition of folk music, where melodies were rarely written down, and people would ‘pass them down via aural tradition’ – learn them by hearing, and then replicating the music.

Do you need perfect pitch to play by ear?

Perfect pitch is the ability to hear a pitch and immediately know which note it is. It seems to be something you’re born with. You either have perfect pitch or you don’t (though some people claim you can learn it). Whatever the case, having perfect pitch is pretty rare and you don’t need it to play by ear or make great music. 

Now that we have cleared that up, here are these four main ear training areas that will lead to you becoming the guitarist you always dreamed of being.

1. Pitch

Pitch ear training is all about hearing the notes and how they relate to one another. First, hone your core sense of the “highness” or “lowness” of sound. This is referred to simply as pitch ear training. Once you’ve mastered single note pitches, the basics of all ear training is learning to hear relative pitch. One common approach is interval ear training which teaches you how near or far notes are from each other.

2.  Rhythm

While many guitarists stop at pitch ear training, being able to identify rhythms and rhythmic patterns may be even more important. If you’re going to cover a song, or play within a certain style, matching the strum pattern, timing, and tempo matters a lot to your audience. With rhythm mastery you can even feel free to depart from it intentionally and the creativity will make your performance even more powerful. Furthermore, when jamming with a band, you’ll be able to better play around with the drummer and maybe ‘trade 4s’ – where you and the drummer take turns to solo over 4 bars.

3. FX and Tone

What? You can train your ears to do that? Yes, of course, and you should. Audio FX ear training will guide you through the world of sound effects available to today’s guitarist.

You will be able to tell what is going on in a piece of music much more precisely and then use it in your own playing and writing.

4. Song-Writing

Hear me out before you say that song writing isn’t an ear training exercise. A song is the structure that brings all of the previous points together. Learn that structure, and you’ll know what to do next—whether you’re writing your own song or learning someone else’s. 

Most songs are made up of certain parts (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.) and built from some fundamental elements (notes, rhythms, harmonies, instrumentation, etc.). By learning the musical characteristics of song structures and what tends to follow what, you’ll instinctively know what to do next even if you’re jamming on a song you never heard before!

Conclusion

They may not strum, pick, run around the fretboard or stomp a pedal, but your ears are as important as your fingers if you’re aiming to become the best guitarist you can be. Start training them intentionally today, if you haven’t already!

If you want some further reading materials on the topic, check out also these articles here, here and here. For more guides, tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of guitar (or ukulele) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

If you want to expand your guitar playing beyond strumming an accompaniment chord part then fingerstyle guitar is a great way to add variety to your playing. It is a great technique to learn for both the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar. With its piano-like sound (since you play the bass parts and the melody parts at the same time), one can say it is the perfect technique for playing without other musicians around.

Definition 

Under ‘Fingerstyle Guitar’ we understand the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or finger picks (picks attached to fingers), as opposed to ‘Flatpicking’ (picking individual notes with a single plectrum) or strumming all the strings of the instrument in chords. The term is often used synonymously with ‘Fingerpicking’.

Difference Between Strumming and Fingerstyle

The main difference between strumming and fingerstyle is that strumming is a very simple guitar technique in which we strum (brush) the strings with the finger or guitar pick up or down. This technique is perfect for beginners who want to play simple chords and songs.

With fingerstyle guitar you will pluck the strings with the ‘picking hand’ fingertips so the beginning could be more challenging than strumming as we have to now use finger independence with our dominant hand as well as the fretting hand.

Further characteristics

The main aim when playing fingerstyle is to orchestrate the piece of music, meaning that you merge bass lines, melody lines and chords into one part. All classical guitar is fingerstyle and is played on nylon string guitars, but over the last few decades, many great players have adapted fingerstyle to steel string and even electric guitar and popularized the technique.

It is still most commonly utilized in folk and classical guitar, but it can be utilized in just about any style. 

In essence fingerstyle guitar involves quick playing, moving around the fretboard and using all of the strings. If you can get good at this style then others, such as bluegrass, will come more easily to you, but be prepared for plenty of frustrated hours improving your finger independence.

If you are used to strumming, this technique can be quite overwhelming at first, so before you go here is something to keep in mind – even the most challenging fingerpicking arrangement, in any style of music, consists of three basic movements. The thumb can pluck a string, the other fingers can pluck a string or the thumb and another finger can pluck some strings at the same time (called a ‘pinch’). That is it! Once you learn these basic movements, with practice and time, it’s easily possible to learn some great sounding pieces and your guitar playing will come alive.

Here is one such piece that isn’t the easiest, but it isn’t too hard for a 1st fingerpicking piece either: Falling slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. And if you’d like to get started on a more classical route – check out ‘Giuliani Studies’ – these are technical fingerstyle studies that have existed for so long that are now available for free! And they contain chords and techniques still used to this day.

For more guides, tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of guitar (or ukulele) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

The journey of any guitarist begins by deciding what type of guitar you want to start with and that can be a tough decision. Of course, you can start with any type of guitar, and once you know the basics you can switch and decide which is the best fit. But it is always good to know what you are dealing with in advance. We already covered most types of acoustic and electric guitar, so now it is time for the classical guitar.

Most guitarists start on an acoustic or classical guitar, because an acoustic is a little less harsh on the fingers and a very simple pick-up-and-play option. You don’t need an amplifier to hear the sound properly and they are often cheaper than electric guitars.

For some beginner guitarists (and advanced as well) it is hard to tell the difference between an acoustic and a classical guitar. So let’s clear that up. 

Classical guitar

Acoustic guitar

Here are the key differences between the two:

1. Fretboard

The fretboard of a classical guitar is a lot wider than that of an acoustic. Quite often classical guitars will not have the fret markers (dots or inlays) along the fingerboard either.

2. Body Shape

Acoustic guitars often come in a dreadnought shape which is considerably larger than that of a classical guitar and cutaways where you have access to the higher frets on classical guitars are rather rare.

3. Bridge

A classic wrap-around bridge is used on a standard classical guitar. On this type of guitar, the strings are tied in a knot around the bridge to secure them in place. But classical bridges also accept ball-end classical strings. In contrast, the bridge on an acoustic guitar has pegs that securely hold the strings in place via their ball-ends.

4. Strings

Both these guitars are in fact acoustic guitars, except one uses nylon strings (classical) and the other uses steel strings (acoustic), hence the modern acoustic ones are often referred to as a “steel string acoustic”. The nylon strings of a classical guitar are a lot thicker and mellower or softer sounding than those of a steel string. Some nylon string guitars are also not considered to be ‘classical’, however, to differentiate between them would be a whole other topic. Let us know if you’d like us to cover that one as well.

5. Tuning Pegs

The mechanics of the tuning peg on a classical guitar are quite different to those on an acoustic guitar.  Usually, on a classical guitar, the tuning peg is made of plastic and metal, whereas on an acoustic guitar the whole tuning peg is made out of metal.

6. Price

Often classical guitars are a little cheaper than their acoustic cousins, which is why many beginners start with a classical guitar first.

The best thing you can do is try as many guitars as you can and see which style is best for you and the music you like to play. Go to the local musical store and spend a good amount of time there or ask guitarist friends of yours to have a strum at their guitar. And don’t get overwhelmed – there are indeed thousands of guitars out there, but you will be able to feel which ones are right for you.

If you would like to read further a very detailed explanation about the nature of classical guitars, check this article.

Did we miss anything important? If you have some questions left or want to add something, feel free to leave a comment below or join our Guitar Family and start a conversation there.

Since you are here, chances are the thought of becoming a guitarist has popped up in your mind not once or twice. We are not here to convince you to embark on the journey on the spot – just state some facts, that inevitably will do so. Check them out and see for yourself if you would be interested in benefiting from all of them (and actually plenty more) while learning the guitar!

1. Exercises your brain

Concentration and memory are two things you use in all areas of life so their constant development is much needed. Playing the guitar is an extremely enjoyable way of improving them – yeah some people also enjoy doing math exercises, but do they really? As you spend more time focusing on different guitar exercises or songs, you’ll find that your ability to focus on other tasks outside of playing music will increase as well.

2. Improves fine motor skills

If you’ve ever tried to learn how to use chopsticks, you’ll know how difficult it is to coordinate your fingers. Learning how to play the guitar is kind of like that, but about a thousand times more difficult. Just like picking up a new sport, learning to play the guitar greatly improves your hand-eye coordination as it requires very specific movements. The best part about improving your motor skills from playing music is that it translates to other activities like knitting, martial arts, and sports.

3. Еnhances your creativity

Whether it’s writing original material or reworking a song for a cover, the guitar is going to unleash your creativity. Since you are thinking of learning exactly the guitar you must find it inspiring and exactly that inspiration will boost your imagination. Who knows, you might even surprise yourself. 

4. Provides emotional release

Probably the most enjoyable aspect of playing the guitar is the happiness that comes from expressing yourself through music. The free expression found in creating music is linked to many health benefits – playing the guitar can also lower blood pressure, decrease your heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression.

5. Boosts your confidence

Learning to play the guitar can have an enormously positive effect on your self-esteem and confidence. As you learn to play, chances are you’ll end up playing in front of a family member, a mate, some potential bandmates or even an audience. Playing guitar in front of others, however scary at first, will build your confidence in expressing yourself publicly and sharing your creativity. 

6. Creates connections

It’s definitely possible to spend your entire musical journey jamming alone in your bedroom, but the best musical moments come from playing with others. Finding people to jam with can lead to meeting a ton of cool like-minded people. The shared experience of playing music together can also strip away a lot of psychological barriers and often leads to close and long-lasting relationships.

7. Increased appreciation of music

Once you know how music works and have tried to create it yourself nothing will ever be the same… Seeing, listening and thinking about how the notes fit together in your favorite songs played by beloved musicians of yours – you’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll enjoy music. 

‘Learning how to play an instrument, any instrument, will increase your ability to appreciate music on a deeper level of understanding and (I believe) emotional connection. This is because you can relate more to the music and the artist performing it.’ – Philip Quintas

8. The Cool Factor

Let’s be honest for a moment. Playing the guitar is just cool. A guitar player who is comfortable with the music they are playing simply radiates confidence. Naturally, that is going to look cool no matter the setting. Sure, learning guitar just to look cool is a bad way to go about this, but the fact remains that it’s an incredible feeling to play your creations in front of an audience in awe.

If you need more reasons, check out also these articles here, here and here. When you are ready to embark on your guitar journey – join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! You can also sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

A lot of beginner guitarists, and even some intermediate players, have the bad habit of playing the strings using only downstrokes. If it has been a while now since you started playing the guitar, surely you already know what alternate picking is – the combination of downstrokes and upstrokes. Alternate picking is essential for all guitarists, regardless of genre – so the sooner you master it, the better.

The theory behind alternate picking is very simple: when you play single note lines, you should always pick your notes with a down-stroke, then an upstroke, then a down-stroke, upstroke, down-stroke, and so forth, alternatively (keeping in mind the shortest rhythm time). 

This kind of picking allows you to optimize the right-hand motion and reach speeds impossible to obtain with a one-way-only picking. And it is logical right? After all you’re utilizing both the down-motion and up-motion, giving you twice as fast a rhythm. Not all guitarists are as obsessed with fast playing as others, but speed is something the vast majority of guitarists will employ at least some of the time.

The Basics of Alternate Picking

There’s nothing really complicated about it. To alternate pick, all you have to do is: pick downstrokes and upstrokes consistently. That’s it! However, you must start off with holding the guitar pick correctly – that  is essential if you want to reap the full benefits of alternate picking. Watch Neli’s video below to check if you already have that covered. 

Once you’re holding your pick correctly, try having it at a slight angle to the string rather than holding it parallel to the string. With the pick at an angle, it will meet with less resistance from the string. This is because the curved edge of the pick will slide across the string.

Once you have found an angle that works, it is time to concentrate on the movement of the picking hand. With alternate picking, you should use small movements. An important thing to pay attention to is also where the picking movement is coming from – and that would be the fingers, not from the wrist for high speeds.The wrist is slow, as it requires a bigger movement to move the entire hand than it does to simply move the joints of the fingers. You can use your wrist movement for regular speeds. The important part is to NOT use movement from the elbow. Not only for technical reasons, but playing from the elbow can lead to injury.

What to note when exercising

Remember, you are alternate picking. The first stroke on each note should be a down and the second stroke should be an up. So when you exercise, you should begin with a downstroke and continue with an upstroke. Ideally, you want to get to a stage where you can play all exercises evenly and consistently. There shouldn’t be any big gaps between notes.

If you find yourself falling back into bad habits, give yourself time to think and practice slowly. You can play exercises at whatever pace is most comfortable for you, but the rhythm must be consistent.

When you are wondering what to play as an exercise remember that scales are a great way to practice alternate picking. Whenever you learn a scale on the guitar, unless you’ve been specifically told otherwise, you should play it using alternate picking. You can also use Neli’s Ultimate Scale Exercises by joining our Guitar Family. You will receive it straight to your inbox in a few days.

And one final thought – the best way to practice alternate picking is to use it as much as possible. Whether you’re playing lead, scales or even chords, try and use alternate picking in everything that you do.

For more tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of ukulele (or guitar) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

How much do you actually know about the ukulele except that it looks adorable and immediately gives you those Hawaian vibes? The ukulele was indeed born in Hawaii but has its roots found in Western Europe. Read on ahead to find out more about the four-stringed instrument.

The History

We can say that the ukulele has a Portuguese descend, since its parents – the cavaquinho and the machete, also known as braguinha – were born in the city of Braga, located in the north of the country. It was around 1879 when Portuguese immigrants from Madeira decided to leave their home in search of a better life. Some 25,000 people found such a life working in the Hawaiian archipelago.

With themselves, they also brought the machete, which immediately became popular with the local population. The European immigrants were excellent guitar players – so great that they even gained the appreciation of the royal family.

In less than two decades, the ukulele was born as a natural Hawaiian adaptation of those four and five-string Portuguese instruments that were brought to Hawaii. And so not long after the immigrants started working in local sugar plantations, they were opening woodworking shops where musical instruments and furniture were sold side by side.

The Etymology

The word “ukulele” itself has a curious meaning – “jumping flea.” It was given this name because of its small size, and vibrant, cheerful, and exuberant sound.

The technical specifics

There are four main sizes of ukuleles: the baritone ukulele (18-21 frets), the tenor ukulele (17-19 frets), the ukulele concert (15-18 frets) and the soprano ukulele (12-15 frets).

The price of an ukulele has a wide range – anywhere between $20 and more than $1,000, depending on the type and quality of the construction. High-quality ukuleles are made of acacia koa or mahogany. The cheaper models are built using plywood, plastic, or laminate woods. The ukulele strings can be made of nylon, fluorocarbon, titanium, wound nylon, wound metal, and steel.

The standard and most common ukulele tuning is G4, C4, E4, A4.

The best and most popular ukulele brands and manufacturers are Kala, Lanikai, Mahalo, Hola!, Luna, Oscar Schmidt, ADM, Sawtooth, Diamond Head, Lohanu, Ohana, Pono, Kamaka, and Kanilea, so if you’re interested in buying one, we’d recommend looking into these.

Don’t be fooled by its small size – the ukulele is a versatile instrument, and it is often used and heard in a broad range of musical genres, including jazz, country music, pop, world music, and rock. Just look up ‘metal ukulele’ an you’dd be amazed! It is also the instrument that best represents surfing and surfers.

The misconceptions

Thus far you must have already got it but just to make it very clear – the ukulele is not a small guitar. It is understandable why people think this way, but it’s always good to spread information and educate those who believe in misconceptions.

A ukulele does indeed share a lot of similarities with an acoustic guitar – more specifically the classical variety. We are talking shape, size proportions, principle of operations and generally how the instrument behaves. However, an ukulele is not only smaller, but it uses a completely different type of tuning, which means different chords and different playing techniques.

Whether or not someone who is proficient with a guitar could play ukulele right off the bat is questionable. They might have the general skill in their hands, but would have to start from scratch when it comes to the notes on the fretboard. However, a lot of the chord shapes can be adapted from guitar – just under different names because of the tuning. So knowing guitar chords well, means you’ll be able to play on and sing along to songs with a ukulele pretty quickly.

For more guides, tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of ukulele (or guitar) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

In Part 1 we covered 5 types of electric guitar body shapes – Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul, SG and PRS. Now it is time to cover some more.

Semi-Hollow Body Type

The semi-hollow guitar is based on having a “tone block” that runs down the center of the body of the instrument. This reduces feedback issues while still maintaining the woody tone of the true hollow body instruments that are widely used in Jazz.

The  Gibson ES-335  is a long-time favorite of electric blues and fusion players, and is growing in popularity in other fields such as indie rock While these guitars are known for their warm woody sound, they are capable of being used in almost any genre that doesn’t require massive amounts of gain, which is prone to feedback.

Hollow Body Types

True hollow body guitars sound very similar to semi-hollow guitars, with the main difference being that there’s a higher presence of an acoustic-like tone. They also have a tendency to feedback more than semi-hollow instruments, which makes them a poor fit for genres that require high levels of gain. While many people associate the term “hollow body” guitar with big jazz guitars, the real definition is that a hollow body guitar doesn’t have a wood block running down the middle. So there are hollow guitars with the same body style as semi-hollow guitars.

While hollow guitars are best suited to jazz, there have been a handful of cases where rock musicians have utilized fully hollow jazz box guitars in rock and roll.

Single cut or double cut

A cutaway on the guitar construction is an indentation in the upper bout of the guitar body adjacent to the guitar neck, designed to allow easier access to the upper frets. Instruments with only a lower cutaway are known as “single cutaway” instruments, and guitars with both are called “double cutaway”. These terms are sometimes shortened to just “single cut” or “double cut”.

The advantage to any guitar with single or no cutaways is that the body of the guitar has more room to resonate and therefore will have a larger sound. The double cutaway has the advantage of a thinner body, and easier access to the higher frets.

Offset

The offset body style includes three main instruments: the Jaguar, the Mustang, and the Jazzmaster. While there are definite differences between them, offset guitars all generally have a bright and clear sound with a subtle mid and low-end response. These guitars are also well suited to rhythm work depending on how their tone knobs are adjusted.  

Offset guitars are very well suited to genres that require a lot of effects, especially fuzz. Good examples of this would be grunge, shoe-gaze, and alternative.

Miscellaneous (e.g. Flying V, Explorer)

Gibson released a number of famous guitars in the 50’s with their eyes set towards the future. They nailed it, because these guitars still look amazing and futuristic even nowadays.

The Flying V offered many of the same benefits as the SG with a much more distinctive body shape. It is now a very common guitar among heavy rock and metal guitarists. This electric guitar style has experienced surges and lulls in its popularity, but has never fallen off the scene, due to the number of great players who have chosen to use it.

Alongside its brother, the Flying V, the Gibson Explorer allows easy access to the highest notes of the instrument, alongside dual humbuckers and massive sustaining bodies. The Explorer, much like the V, is now a very common electric guitar shape in the heavy rock and metal genres, but was widely used in other styles as well.

Did we miss any guitars? If you have some questions left, feel free to leave a comment below or join our Guitar Family and start a conversation there.

It is already the second week of 2021, but it is never too late to get inspired for some more New Year’s resolutions or to adjust the ones you have already set. Here are some goals that would benefit a great deal to any guitarist – no matter a beginner or an advanced player. Take a look and adopt right away ones that fit you!

Practice technique regularly – Whether you’re preparing for gigs, or just want to stay in top shape, technical exercises are your friends. Not the most pleasant of friends, but the ones that push you to be your best self. And you can only hang out with them for 10 minutes at a time 😀 so you’ll be able to manage this!

Learn Something New Each Week – even if it’s not a full song, or just doing something easy. After all variety is the spice of life 🙂

Join a Guitar Club – doing your hobby is great, but joining a club like our Guitar Family will make sure that you are held accountable to your goals. Also, you can always rely on your club members to back you up whenever you feel uncertain about something and have any questions, or just for a safe-space filled with like-minded people where you can share your progress.

Try a new genre – have you tried playing country? Or jazz? Or metal? Or classical? Pick a new genre just to tip your toes and explore what expressions and techniques are different in this genre. This will not only broaden your horizon, but also improve your overall technique and therefore your playing in the genres you love.

Read More Books – Do you want to improve on your skills? Get a book filled with notes so you can sight-read, or a book on theory or the neuroscience of music, so you better understand what lies behind the thing we love. Or just something lighter like the story of your favourite guitarist. It’s always great fun to read what people went through to get to where they are.

Plan a home concert – whether it is online, you’re alone or with people, planning a concert at home can help you stay focused on the songs you want to learn. If you set a clear date when you’d like to do a 15/30 minute or even 1h concert, you’ll also have that date to look forward to. And you can invite people closer to the time if you feel like you’d like to brave an audience, or you can just record yourself, so you’ll be able to look back on your progress from that moment in time 🙂

Share your resolutions one-on-one – “Some research shows that telling others your goal makes you feel like you’ve already achieved it,” says Dr. Oz. But other studies indicate that sharing progress can help you keep going, he adds. Dr. Oz’s advice: “Confide in one friend, then share achievements with others when you’re on the road to success.” And you can always share your goals or success in our Guitar Family. I love seeing you achieve your goals!

Invest in your Guitar Maintenance – grab a good pack of strings (you can see my recommendations at the Musician Toolbox), and if you don’t have this already, grab some fretboard oil, nut sauce to lubricate the nut and the bridge of your guitar and a good cloth. That way you can clean your guitar, take care of the fretboard wood and make everything feel brand new! And if you don’t want to do this yourself, head to your local guitar shop and ask for a set-up. They will also be able to adjust the neck of your electric or acoustic guitar and give your instrument some needed TLC.

Keep Healthy – take some walks or try out Yoga – that way you will keep your mind at ease, which does wonders for your focus when playing the guitar. You can also try lifting weights – this can do wonders for your durability while playing standing up, or just moving your gear 😀

Build a Budget for a New Guitar/Gear – what’s up with that guitar you’ve been dying to get? You can totally do that this year by planning ahead and creating a savings budget. Make sure that it is viable in the long run and you can stick to it.

Are any of these goals already on your list? Which ones will you add after reading them here? We are waiting for you over at our Guitar family to tell us! We would love to hear also if you have ideas for what we should add to the list.

The featured photo is by Haley Powers on Unsplash.