One of the first things an aspiring guitarist will do when he or she gets their first guitar is to hold it. To feel how it is against his trunk of his or her body and especially how it feels in one’s hands. Maybe it’s heavy or maybe it’s light like a hollow body or an acoustic. For everyone it is kind of the same for that first time embracing a thick block of wood and feeling the strings wondering maybe that one is going to be a good guitarist and musician or maybe it could be me holding it that will be a notable guitar player and be able to succeed doing it for real for a living. It is a big aspiration and learning it and making it both can take a toll though few rewards can be more desirable in this world.
Guitars are mainly chosen for an overall reason of playability usually foremost and the sound from the pick-ups is usually secondary even though it can make a big difference. It seems many musicians feel that they can fix the sound with a good amp and effects but options are always available to change the pick-ups. There can be a lot of reasons why some will go for an axe with hum bucking pick-ups over single coil and there are more configurations these days with splitting the signal in a hum bucker or single coil. For certain, everyone wants the best sound, it’s just at least initially most will go far how the instrument plays if they have to make a choice with knowing they can always change pick-ups.
The sound of the guitar in recording of many famous albums have changed over time. Similar to how over all production and the sounds of the last sixty years or so has also changed.
Notice the brittle and brassy sound of guitar in the 1950’s before there were enough ways of creating solid distortion, though that is luck or fate because that clean sound suited the music rather well. In all a good part of the guitar sounds were similar sounding. Coming up to the sixties most bands used distortion a bit more during guitar solos in particular and sometimes in verses and choruses depending on the music. By the late Sixties there was increase in using distortion among bands that were beginning to lead to the Heavy Metal era which arguably began in the early Seventies. In the Seventies the bands that were of Hard Rock and Metal began perfecting the Heavy Metal guitar sound which carried up until modern times. Just as there were experiments with other guitar effects in the Sixties so were there in the Seventies among experimental and Art Rock bands.
The guitar was becoming like a synthesizer. Most common uses were distortion, delay, chorus, flanger and reverb. These main staples of guitar effects would be a precursor to more advanced effects mainly coming as well to the public in the 1980’s and would become more intense and variegated until current time.
The use of metal wires into the amplifiers and also direct boxes created un almost endless palate of sounds that were able to be created by the electric guitar. Though it is interesting that it seems a majority of songs with guitar players did not use a majority of special effects and the ones that could make outlandish sounds though there were a minority. Some of the best known and widely heard guitarists usually relied on the fundamental kinds of effects mainly delay, chorus, flanger and reverb. There were exceptions…Jimi Hendrix could be one as well as Yes and ELP. In the Eighties certainly Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and some of the elite who were focused mostly on the guitar as it’s main voice for their band and projects.
The guitar had become very versatile. Then there are the acoustic guitars. The acoustic guitar is as irreplaceable as the electric or any other instrument. If the acoustic guitar was steel stringed it was used on Rock and Pop recordings and Folk and Bluegrass more than as a solo instrument even though it is possible for it be used as one. There are a significant amount of albums using acoustic steel string guitars then is usually noticed perhaps because it is a staple especially in backing tracks even if it is played on Hard Rock albums.
It can be surprising the amount steel string acoustics are really used.
One guitar that is a great instrument perhaps not as widely used these days as the electric and steel string acoustic is almost a different kind of guitar that is the Classical nylon stringed guitar.
The nylon string guitar has been mainly used for Spanish guitar songs, Latin and Classical music. The only difference in playability in this guitar is one has to use his fingers for everything. One needs to grow their nails on their picking hand and the technique of picking as well as the way scales and chords are played takes a lot of practicing and it is much more difficult to play fast using only your fingers but skilled players do just that. The sound of the nylon string is usually beautiful being able to hear more of the guitars body and is an especially unique instrument.
Guitars are heard a lot these days probably because of their versatility and the range of notes fits in well with most songs that can be played. There is ample room for more guitar music these days for Classical, Steel String and Electric with it’s variety of techniques and effects it has to feel in the void in most modern music.