Legendary Guitar Heroes and their Guitars

by Special K

Throughout the history of popular music, the guitar hero has been an inspiration to youth everywhere. Whether you yourself can shred some mean licks, or if you have ever simply rocked out with some kick-ass air guitar, nearly everyone can name at least one guitarist who they adore or who has influenced them in their own technique on guitar (real or air). But where did the guitar hero come from? Who inspired such legends as Eddie Van Halen, or Slash? And what made them choose the guitars they became so famous for using?

Since Robert Johnson's alleged meeting with the devil at the crossroads, guitarists everywhere have done whatever they can to be the best guitarist in the world, and in the process have tried to find or create the best guitar ever made. To find the origins of the guitar hero, we must go far beyond grunge and hair metal. The only place to begin is at the start of it all. The origin of the Rock and Roll guitar.

Chuck Berry: The Beginning of the Guitar Hero

Without question, the first guitar hero was Chuck Berry. Without him, the music of today and the "guitar hero" may have never existed. By the mid Fifties, he had practically invented rock and roll, or to quote John Lennon, "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry' ". Berry not only mastered his guitar playing, he did it with style; showing all future guitarists how to be as visually entertaining as they are sonically. The most well known of Chuck Berry's moves is the "duck walk", which is emulated by Marty McFly in the classic film Back to the Future and made equally as famous by Angus Young of AC/DC.

Berry's #1 guitar was the semi-hollow body Gibson ES-335, which has a solid wooden block running through its center and was the first semi-hollow guitar commercially available. The ES-335 has a more "woody", mellow sound than a solid guitar providing his trademark sound on songs such as Roll Over Beethoven, Rock and Roll Music, Johnny B. Goode and Maybelline (which was named after a mascara case in his dressing room). Influencing bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry's songs, style and sound have been copied, stolen and covered but never duplicated.

Since Chuck, nearly every famous guitarists has at least once used the Gibson ES-335 making it arguably the most popular semi-hollow guitar on the market. Included on this list is jazz musician Larry Carlton, Roy Orbison, Joe PerryTom Delonge of Blink 182 has his own signature ES-335 (even the endangered Panda has been seen with this beautiful instrument). Legendary blues player B.B. King has used the ES-335, but is more famous for using his custom made Lucille, which is a modified ES-355, the top model thin-semi-hollow guitar made by Gibson. Modifications include a maple rather than mahogany neck, lack of upper F-hole and has the word "Lucille" in its headstock. While Lucille may be the most famous hollow body of all time, it was Chuck Berry and his ES-335 that made Rock and Roll and the guitar hero what they are today. (Aerosmith) and

The Beatles: Introducing the World to the Rickenbacker

Although all of The Beatles are more well known as songwriters rather than guitar heroes, their guitars and guitar playing have had a huge influence on nearly all music released since their existence. No other guitar brand has had more of an impact from the Beatles than the Rickenbacker, and no other band has featured the Rickenbacker as well as the Beatles. Acquired by John Lennon in Hamburg in 1960, the 1958 natural finish Rickenbacker 325 was described as his "dream guitar" and was the first Rickenbacker acquired by any of the Beatles.

Lennon soon made this guitar his own through various modifications, including replacing the control knobs, replacing the Kauffman Vibrola tailpiece with a more reliable Bigsby and removing the wiring to the middle pickup (whether this was done intentionally or not is still in question). However, the modification that had the largest impact had nothing to do with the sound of the guitar. Somewhere between October and Decemeber 1962, John Lennon refinished his 325 to be all black. By simply changing the colour of his guitar, Lennon proved that appearance is just as crucial as sound when it comes to guitar choice. Not to be outdone by Lennon, lead guitarist George Harrison soon found another Rickenbacker that would change the sound of the 60s forever.

Although not his first Rickenbacker (he had acquired a 425 a year earlier), in 1964 George Harrison acquired a Rickenbacker 360/12; the first ever electric 12 string guitar. Actually, to be more precise, George Harrison's 360/12 was the second electric 12 string ever made and was given to him as a gift from its inventor. Unlike the first 360/12 prototype, George's 360 had the lower octave string strung above the higher octave on the four lower strings, and would be the basis for how all subsequent instruments would be strung. The 360s headstock that featured two sets of machine heads at 90 degrees to each other giving it a sleek and low profile and also according to Harrison making it "so that even when you're drunk you can still know what string you're tuning." The 12 string jangle was soon emulated by bands like The Who flooding the music industry and soon became the trademark sound of The Byrds.

Prior to the Rickenbacker, Harrison can be seen playing a 1962 Chet Atkins Grestch Country Gentleman on their 1964 Ed Sullivan performance, which also highlights John's black 325 and Paul's violin bass. Harrison's original Country Gentleman fell apart after much use, and received a new one just before the famous airing. The Country Gentlemen is a peculiar guitar which looks like hollow body but is actually a large bodied solid guitar who's F-holes are painted on.

Although Paul was given Rickenbacker 4001S left-handed bass in 1964 (the first left handed bass he had seen), he was most recognized for playing his Hofner 500/1 violin bass. McCartney liked the Hofner for its simplicity and its symmetry, since he would flip a right handed model around to play it left handed. The violin bass became notoriously linked with the Beatles bassist, and remained his #1 instrument throughout his career. Later, Lennon would make the Epiphone Casino famous, most notably during the Let It Be rooftop performance. Harrison played a custom rosewood Fender Telecaster during the album Let It Be, however he would be most recognized for his psychedelic Fender Stratocaster "Rocky", which he used on Magical Mystery Tour.

Harrison continued to play his original guitars, and can be seen on the cover of his 1987 album "Cloud Nine" with his Grestch Duo Jet; one of the first guitars he owned. Even though as guitar-showmen, Lennon and Harrison were nothing compared to the wild Chuck Berry, they demonstrated to generations of guitarists to come how a rhythm (John) and lead (George) guitarist should play together with their inherent chemistry and excellent talent as musicians, which they reflected in their choice of guitars.

Jimmy Page and The Gibson Les Paul

While Chuck Berry introduced the world to "the guitar hero", and The Beatles standardized the four piece band, it would be bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and The Jimi Hendrix Experience who would most exemplify the guitar hero as a member of band rather than a solo artist (although some may argue Hendrix was a solo artist). Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page (who previously played with the Yardbirds, and with countless bands as a session musician) quickly became one of the biggest guitar gods of all time with his massive stage presence and his massive sound. Although many people associate Page with the Double-Neck Gibson EDS-1275 (which he uses live to play the legendary Stairway to Heaven), and his first famous guitar was a 1959 psychedelic Fender Telecaster given to him by Jeff Beck, his number one guitar was his 1958 (and #2 1959) Gibson Les Paul. Like the Telecaster, the Les Paul was invented by Les Paul and was one of the first electric guitars ever made. With his unique playing style, including using a violin bow across his guitar strings, Jimmy Page is to the Les Paul as slicing is to bread.

Since Page, countless number of guitar players have made the Gibson Les Paul their main ax, including: Ace Frehley (KISS), Stone Gossard (and Mike McCready #2 ax) (Pearl Jam), Slash (Guns'n'Roses), Pete Townsend (The Who 1973-78), and Neil Young (when not playing an acoustic) while signature models have been made for artists such as Zakk Wylde (Bullseye) and Joe Perry (Boneyard). Jimmy Page would also regularly be seen playing a Danelectro (which had various parts from two 1959 DC models), usually on songs that were in an alternate tunning. Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin's influence can be seen predominantly in nearly all blues-rock/hard-rock bands and the infamous hair metal bands of the 80s. Although it seems like centuries since the legendary original lineup of Led Zeppelin played live, hundreds of bands still credit them as their number one influence and Jimmy Page's costume wearing stage antics can still be seen today, if you know where to look. You don't have to look very hard to find the Les Paul though, as it is still featured predominately in music as a leader in the high-end, top-quality guitar category.

Heavy Metal and The Gibson SG

While Led Zeppelin was rocking out to songs about love, and mystical lands, Black Sabbath was scaring the world with songs about war, Satan and the end of the world. Originally a blues band named "Earth", Black Sabbath were inspired by scary movies to do the same to music. Unlike Jimmy Page, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi always remained faithful to his make of guitar; The Gibson SG (although his first SG was actually made by Jaydee guitars, and is actually playing a Fender Stratocaster on their debut self titled album). Much like Zeppelin, Sabbath's impact was as much their appearance as their sound. Iommi's unique de-tunning his guitar down to C# (rather than E) gave his already mean sounding SG a distinctive sound of doom never heard before. One of the best all time guitarists, Iommi's playing style is most impressive once you realize that he has lost the finger tips on his fingering hand, and actually plays with wax finger tips, making his sound that much more unique. The look of the SG and its devil horns quickly became notoriously linked to heavy music, and band members could all be seen wearing crosses, and were soon seen as members of the occult. Gibson has made a signature Iommi guitar, which features crosses on the fret markers.

Due to its incredible tone and playability, along with its mean look, the Gibson SG has become a very popular guitar among artists such as Pete TownsendRobby Krieger (The Doors), Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and most notably AC/DC's Angus Young, who arguably made the Gibson SG even more famous than Iommi, and also has his own special edition Angus Young SG. With songs like "Iron Man", "Paranoid" and "Sweet Leaf" the Black Sabbath sound has since influenced bands such as Black Flag, White Zombie and Megadeth making them the undisputed godfathers of heavy metal. Sabbath was also a huge influence on the grunge and alternative community being huge influences on bands such as Wolfmother, Alice in Chains, Silverchair, and most notably Soundgarden (and guitarist Kim Thayil), which Tony Iommi himself has claimed to be his favorite band. Although heavy metal bands like Metallica have relied on newer guitars such as the ESP, and guitar companies like B.C. Rich have taken the extreme shape of the guitar to an all new extreme, the Gibson SG will always be the original mean looking, mean sounding heavy metal guitar. (1968-72) the incredibly talented

The Fender Stratocaster

Playing a reversed 60's white Fender Stratocaster, Jimi Hendrix is arguably the most famous guitar player of all time. Although Hendrix had the option of using a left handed guitar, he preferred to use a restrung and flipped right handed guitar since he enjoyed having the control knobs at the top, making them easier to access while playing. Jimi pioneered the use of live feedback, and was made famous for his guitar burning on stage. Much like guitar smashing, made famous by The Who's Pete Townsend and emulated by thousands such as Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, the act of destroying a guitar on stage was not only exciting to watch, but it also made the performance unforgettable and irreproducible since the instrument used in the concert could never be played again. Although he did much to help its success, Jimi Hendrix can not be given full credit for the success of the Stratocaster. With its famous "fender twang", the Fender Strat is probably the most popular guitar ever created and has probably been played by every guitarist to ever touch an electric guitar. It's shape has been copied a countless amount of times, and Fender themselves have released an uncountable number of variations of this electric guitar classic.

The incredible list of Strat players include Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), The Edge (U2), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), John Mayer, John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), David GilmourBuddy Holly (the first "strat hero"), Tom Morello ("Soul Power" with Audioslave), guitar guru Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Pete TownsendStevie Ray Vaughn and Buddy Guy. Most notably in this list is Eric Clapton, who's guitar "Blackie" was sold for $959,500 in 2004 and is thought to be the most expensive guitar of all time. Made of a '56 alder body, '57 maple neck, "Blackie" is a Frankenstein of Strat parts, selected to be the "best guitar ever made". After being used for 15 years, on 13 albums and played in far too many concerts to count, "Blackie" obviously shows more than a fare share of wear and was retired in 1985 before it completely fell apart. Fender has issued an exact recreation of "Blackie", right down to the cigarette burns in the headstock as well as the guitars played by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, Stevie Ray Vaughn's "#1", and Jeff Beck's "Esquire". With such a classic sound, the back-list of legendary artists who adore this lovely guitar, and with a model designed me match any budget, the Strat is in the lead of the race to be the best "lead guitar". (Pink Floyd), (1989-present),

The Fender Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster was the first solid body electric guitar and has remained one of the most dominant guitars in the world of all time. Designed by Leo Fender and Les Paul, it was released in 1950 under the name "Broadcaster"and much like the Stratocaster and the Les Paul, it has stood the test of time with very few modifications to its original design throughout the decades. The Tele, although simple in design and appearance, has one of the most broad spectrum of sounds, and is used in literally every genre of music. Often linked with country music with such artists as Waylon Jennings, Blue Rodeo and Johnny Cash's Tennessee 3, the Tele is just as popular across the spectrum with heavier artists such as Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Matt Bellamy (Muse) and John 5 (Marilyn Manson). Much like the Stratocaster, chances are every guitarist has played a Telecaster at least once.

Like nearly every other guitar in this list, Pete Townsend had his go at the Telecaster and influenced fan Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam to choose the Telecaster as his main instrument. Although the typical Tele is usually only equipped with two single coil pickups, a 3 way switch and volume and tone knobs, it produces a massive variety of sounds and is used as a rhythm, lead, clean and distorted instrument in equal proportions. Much like the Stratocaster, an army of Telecaster models and clones have been released through its nearly 60 year life span. One of the most controversial Telecaster players was Bob Dylan, who used the telecaster when he went electric, which lead to the infamous confrontation with his audience at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1966. The long list of other Tele enthusiasts also includes 'pre-Les Paul' Jimmy Page, Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd founder), Frank Blank (The Pixies), Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), Bruce Springsteen, Ed O'BrienStone Gossard (Pearl Jam) and famous blues legend Muddy Waters who also has an exact replica Telecaster made for him. The Telecaster may be one of the simplest guitars on the market, but its ability to suit any guitar player and any style makes this guitar the MacGyver of musical instruments. Kudos to Leo and Les for getting it perfect with their very first attempt. (Radiohead),

Other Notable Guitars and Guitarists

Although many guitarists have maintained true to the few instruments mentioned above, some guitars have popped up as fairly popular over the years and some guitarists have made relatively unheard of guitars their own. Most notably in this second category is Brian May of Queen, and his Red Special. What makes this guitar so special is that May, with help from his father, designed and built the guitar himself out of wood from an old fireplace mantel. Since it is a true one-of-a-kind, it has a very unique sound that only Brian May can achieve, however several attempts have been made at a Red Special replica.

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, famous for inventing the technique of "tapping" after studying Jimmy Pages solo on "Heartbreaker" made his own "Frankenstat", which is easily recognizable by its unique red, white and black stripes. Kurt Cobain, like Hendrix and McCartney, played left handed and was most famous for playing a 1965 Fender Jaguar and a 1970s Fender Mustang, both of which were left handed guitars. Cobain designed his own "Jag-Stang", a combination of the Fender Jaguar and Mustang, although he never played the instrument live making many believe he was never satisfied with the instrument. As previously mentioned, Cobain became famous for destroying his guitars at the end of Nirvana's concerts, however unlike smashing pioneer Pete Townsend (The Who) who would destroy his best instruments, Cobain would typically smash cheap Japanese made 90s Stratocasters, whose neck-bolts were often loosened to ease in the destruction, and often allowing the instrument to be re-assembled, and smashed again at the next show.

Paul Reed Smith guitars have also become popular as a blend of the Gibson and Fender sound, but with only high end models available, it isn't for everyone. PRS guitars feature decorative inlays with bodies made of mahogany, with or without a maple top, and can be seen played by legendary Carlos Santana and Mark Tremonti Creed. The Gibson Flying V and Explorer has also been a big success with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, The Edge of U2 and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters taking a shine to these classics, and a Flying V was even used by Hendrix early in his career. One of the most innovative guitarists in recent years is Jack White of the White Stripes. Most famously known for using a bright red 1964 JB Hutto Montgomery Airline which is made of "res-o-glass" material, White chooses guitars that are relatively unknown making every guitar he uses his own. Other guitars used by White include the similar looking hollow-body Harmony Rocket and 1970s Crestwood Astral II, and a 1950s Kay Hollowbody whose huge sound chamber give it a bone crushing sound exemplified by White's masterful work with the guitar slide.

The list of famous guitars and famous guitarists is never ending, but one thing is quite clear. There is no such thing as "the perfect guitar". Some guitarists like Carlos Santana seek the perfect tone and will pay any amount to achieve this tone, while others like Jack White simply search for a guitar that suits there style, even if it only cost them $100 at the local pawn shop. Many prefer to stick to the classic Fender or Gibson name, while others may search high and low for a unique guitar they can truly call their own. No matter what kind of guitar player you are, when it comes to choosing your own ax it all boils down to which guitar inspires you the most, suits you the best and most importantly, how you play it.

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How To Tune Your Guitar By Ear

by: Mike Hayes

1. The very first thing you need to know is that learning to tune your guitar takes time.Some things on guitar can be learned in minutes, some in days, and others in weeks, but tuning will sometimes take even longer, because you have to train your ears. If results come slowly or don't seem to be making any progress, don't be discouraged, just keep working at it.
2. It will help you to know that the ear is a very skilled instrument for taking in sound. Your ear hears four things in each sound: Pitch, Duration, Volume and Tone Quality.

Pitch is how high or low the sound is. Duration is how long it lasts. Volume is how loud it is. Tone quality is the "character" of the sound. If we were to play the same pitch, at the same volume, for the same length of time on piano, clarinet, flute, violin, guitar, doorbell, or car horn, your ear could tell one instrument (or car horn) from another because of the tone quality. That's because each instrument has a different "character" or "personality" of sound. You can prove you have this ability to tell one sound from another by listening to sounds without looking where they come from.

The point I want to emphasize is that you already hear very well. Learning to tune your guitar is learning a new way of using your hearing.

3.The next thing to know is that when you are tuning your guitar you want to listen only to the pitch of the strings. The quality of the pitch will differ between two strings, and this may at first confuse your ear. You'll mistake the difference in quality as a difference in pitch. For example when playing the first string open and the second string at the fifth fret, you may notice that the first string may sound 'crisper', while the second string will sound a little "darker" in quality. The darker quality of the string at first can be misunderstood to sound lower in pitch. (You may use different words to explain how the strings sound to you, but the idea is that the tone quality of each string will sound different). If you understand that the ear hears a combination of pitch, volume, duration and quality all at the same time, it will help you to filter out the quality from the pitch and overcome the basic problem of tuning.

4. The steps involved in tuning your guitar: The first step is to tune one string to a note from another source. You could use another guitar (one that has already been tuned), a piano, or somebody that know how to tune could guide you along.

A better source is a tuning fork. (It's better because you don't need anybody else around or any other instrument. If, for example you learn to tune to a piano, you're going to have a problem if ever you need to tune and there's no piano handy).

A tuning fork is a U shaped piece of metal with a stem on it. The fork is designed to vibrate at a particular pitch. You can get one that gives you the pitch of the first string on the guitar. (Look for one that has the letter E and the number 329.6 stamped on the stem).

To use the tuning fork you hold it by the stem, tap the U shaped fork against something solid, and place the stem (not the tip of the fork) on either the body, or the bridge of your guitar. (For electric guitars can place it on the pickup). You should hear the note which the vibrating fork produced. The note is the correct "source".

You now adjust the first string to match the pitch of the tuning fork. You do this by finding the correct tuning gear for this string and then turning the gear slowly in one direction or the other. After about half a turn you should hear the string change pitch either up or down. This will tell you which way you have to turn the gear to tighten the string (to raise the pitch) and which way to loosen the string (to lower the pitch).

Now compare the sound of the string with the sound of the tuning fork. If the string is lower than the tuning fork, tighten the string to raise the pitch. If the string is higher than the tuning fork, loosen the string to lower the pitch.

Go slowly. Do not turn the gear rapidly. Turn about a quarter of a turn and then compare the string to the tuning fork again. (You'll have to strike them both again). You'll probably have to repeat this process several times. When the string sounds close to the fork make smaller turns.

When you think the first string is in tune, use the following steps (one to five) to tune the rest of the strings. (Remember, you can only tune as well as your ears hear now. With practice, you can become a better tuner). The following steps repeat the process of matching one pitch with another. The difference is that instead of using a tuning fork you will listen to the string you have just tuned, and try to match the next string to this one.

1. Place the finger behind the fifth fret of the 6th string. This will give you the tone of the 5th sting. (A)

2. Place the finger behind the 5th fret of the 5th string to get the pitch of the 4th string. (D)

3. Place the finger behind the 5th fret of the 4th string to get the pitch of the 3rd string. (G)

4. Place the finger behind the FOURTH FRET of the 3rd string to get the pitch of the 2nd string. (B)

5. Place the finger behind the 5th fret of the 2nd string to get the pitch of the 1st string. (E)

About The Author
Mike Hayes is a guitar teacher, author, performing musician and session guitarist with over 30 years of professional experience. Mike's methods are legendary and have earned the praise of top authorities in guitar instruction. He reveals his guitar secrets at http://www.GuitarCoaching.com.

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When I Grow Up I Want To Play Guitar

by: Mike Hayes

The secret to becoming a really good guitar player is, start playing and never stop. It really IS that simple!

Many people say "Gee you know, I've always wanted to play guitar, or I'd like to play guitar but I don't think I'll be very good at it".

You know if you really want to play guitar, just start. Don't listen to all the advice of all the people around you.

Now, here's a little story I'm sure many of you will be able to relate to. It's a story about Paddy - a guy who knew what he wanted to do and followed his heart.
When Paddy was in grade five at school, the teacher asked the class "What do you want to be when you grow up?". She would ask each member of the class.

"What do you want to be when you grow up, Jimmy? "

Jimmy would say. "A doctor miss".

"Oh that's very good choice Jimmy, that's great".

"What do you want to be when you grow up, Mary?"

"I'm going to be an accountant miss"

"Excellent choice, very good choice"

Now when it came to Paddy, she asked.

" What do you want to be when you grow up, Paddy?"

Paddy replied, "a guitar player".

The whole class errupted in laughter. The whole class .... it was just amazing. Paddy wasn't expecting this reaction. He had no idea why this was happening . Paddy hadn't started to play guitar or anything yet, but that's really what he wanted to do.

So the teacher asked again.

"What do you really want to do when you grow up, Paddy?"

Paddy said, "play guitar".

And the same thing only louder, everybody laughed. Paddy just couldn't work out why they had this reaction. So he sat down red faced and quite puzzled trying to work this out.

Anyway, a year later, the teacher asked the class, "what do you want to be when you grow up". When it came to Paddy's turn, the teacher said.

"Now Paddy, what do you want to be when you grow up?"

So Paddy stood up, he wasn't as confident this time as he was the previous year, but he said.

"A guitar player".

And the same thing, the whole class erupted. Paddy looked around for support from the teacher but.... she was kind of buckled up in pain trying to hold back the laughter. And so anyway he got to thinking that maybe he wasn't giving them the answer they want.

So the next year, he was prepared for it. Paddy thought, right, I've got the hang of this now. So when it came around to his turn again, she asked.

"Now Paddy"...... and of course the class is just waiting for his answer.

"Now Paddy, what are you going to do when you grow up? What do you want be?"

this time, he said............"a swimmer".

And the whole class laughed AGAIN!. By this time he was REALLY angry ... he looked down to his, (now) ex -friend , who was sitting pretty close to him and Paddy asked....

"What's SO funny about that?"

The guy just looked up and said...

"But you CAN'T swim!"

Paddy exclaimed, " does that matter?"

He just couldn't really get the hang of this. Of course the thing was Paddy really wasn't giving them the stock standard answer that they wanted. Like a doctor or a dentist or something like that. But that's really what Paddy wanted to do and the reality is that all he's ever really done.

Now the reason why I'm telling you this is because the formula to become a really good guitar player is quite simple. There's only two steps.

Decide to do it. Do it.

Now, along the way you'll need a properly set up guitar. You'll need your equipment to be easy to play. And you'll need top quality information. But the most important thing is you need to be internally motivated. That's if you want to be really good. If you are internally motivated that means you REALLY want to play guitar, that's what you want to do. There's really nothing that can stop you.

So until next time have fun with your guitar playing and if that's what you want to do, just go for it!

About The Author
Mike Hayes is a guitar teacher, author, performing musician and session guitarist with over 30 years of professional experience. Mike's methods are legendary and have earned the praise of top authorities in guitar instruction. He reveals his guitar secrets at http://www.GuitarCoaching.com.

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The guitar is a musical instrument with ancient roots, used in a wide variety of musical styles, and it is also a solo classical instrument. It is most recognized as the primary instrument in blues, country, flamenco, rock music and many forms of pop. The guitar usually has six strings, but four-, seven-, eight-, ten-, and Twelve string guitars also exist. Guitars are made and repaired by luthiers. Guitars may be played acoustically or they may rely on an amplifier that usually allows for electronic manipulation of tone. The electric guitar was introduced in the 20th century, and had a profound influence on popular culture.

Instruments similar to the guitar have been popular for at least 5,000 years. The guitar appears to be derived from earlier instruments known in ancient central Asia as the Sitara. Instruments very similar to the guitar appear in ancient carvings and statues recovered from the old Iranian capitol of Susa. The modern word, guitar, was adopted into English from Spanish guitarra, derived from earlier Greek word kithara. Prospective sources for various names of musical instruments that guitar could be derived from appear to be a combination of two Indo-European roots: guit-, similar to Sanskrit sangeet meaning "music", and -tar a widely attested root meaning "chord" or "string".

The word guitar is a Persian loanword to Iberian Arabic. The word qitara is an Arabic name for various members of the lute family that preceded the Western guitar. The name guitarra was introduced into Spanish when such instruments were brought into Iberia by the Moors after the 10th century.

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