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Musician's Handbook: Guitar

Musician's Handbook: Guitar

Musician's Handbook: Guitar
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New from the makers of Guitarist, Total Guitar and Guitar Techniques: Musician's Handbook: Guitar! It's the ultimate guitars special: Everything you need in one 132-page manual: How to choose a guitar, a guide to maintenance, your first lessons, how to record… Everything you need to be a better player FAST. INCLUDES download of audio and video to accompany the lessons inside (see page 5). Don't miss it!

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

2 min.
welcome to... musician’s handbook [guitars]

Welcome to Musician’s Handbook: Guitar. This handbook contains the skills and knowledge of some of the world’s finest players and tutors. We’re here to make your early steps of playing and mastering your guitar of choice as fast and fun as possible. Playing the guitar is a never-ending source of fun and rewarding experiences, so, as the makers of the UK’s leading guitar magazines Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, we’ve put together a complete guide of lessons and how-to guides to help make it even easier for you to get started. Whether you’re new to the instrument, or have been playing a while and have a view of getting back into shape, we’ve got you covered. We’ll show you how to take your first steps into learning to play, ways…

4 min.
anatomy of an electric guitar

1TOP Electric guitars have been made from an astonishing array of materials over the years. The most common woods are ash, alder, mahogany, rosewood, maple and ebony, but some intrepid makers have used steel, plastics, hemp, and even bits of Muddy Waters’ house. Bodies can be solid, hollow, or a blend of the two. What’s yours made of? Have a listen to guitars made of other materials and with different body shapes, and note the differences in tone and the way they feel to hold. 2 BRIDGE/TAILPIECE This secures your strings to the body end of the guitar, and provides a stable ‘base’ for the strings to vibrate and make sound. There are many kinds, ranging from simple steel bars to complex vibrato systems with ‘whammy’ bars which you waggle to…

2 min.
anatomy of an acoustic guitar

1 TOP The soundboard, or ‘top’ of an acoustic guitar is a key component in the way it responds. Construction of the soundboard is either affordable laminate (multiple plies glued together), or solid (a single layer of wood), and popular choices include spruce, cedar, mahogany and maple. Yes, different woods will give your guitar a different sound. So choose one you like! When you strum, the soundboard vibrates to help amplify the instrument and create the familiar sound of a resonant steel-string acoustic guitar. 2 BACK & SIDES The back and sides of an acoustic guitar are just as important, and like the soundboard, are available in laminate or solid construction. The wood choice for the back and sides is often a more rigid one – they project the sound back…

4 min.
icons fender stratocaster

When it was launched in 1954, the Fender Stratocaster looked so far ahead of its time it could have fallen from a flying saucer. That futuristic design was thanks in part to Western swing guitarist, Bill Carson. Frustrated by what he regarded as shortcomings on the earlier Telecaster, Bill pestered Leo Fender to improve the guitar with body contouring, more pickups and a vibrato unit. Instead, Leo and his team went back to the drawing board. Like the Telecaster, Leo’s new guitar had an ash body (alder was introduced in 1956) and a bolt-on maple neck. There the similarity ends. The double cutaway body, lifted from the ’51 Precision Bass, was contoured for comfort (“It fits better to your body like a well tailored shirt,” said Carson) then loaded with three…

4 min.
icons gibson les paul standard

Although the Gibson Les Paul guitar was originally launched in 1952, it wasn’t until July 58 that the company perfected a slab of tonal brilliance, christened the Standard. Blessed with stunning tone, sustain and playability, the Standard became even more desirable in 59 when choice examples left Gibson’s original Kalamazoo, Michigan factory with highly figured flame or Tiger Stripe maple tops. The boosted eye candy completed the package but incredibly the guitar – that these days will set you back around £200,000 – was extinct by 1961. It was replaced by a double cutaway, all-mahogany Les Paul branded model that would eventually be renamed the SG. The Les Paul Standard is heavily associated with the likes of Jimmy Page, Peter Green, Billy Gibbons (and his iconic ’59 LP Standard, Pearly Gates),…

3 min.
icons fender telecaster

When the Tele first arrived, its solid body was a huge innovation – it limited feedback and enabled higher-volume playing, while the no-nonsense construction made for easy mass production. Leo Fender had already brought the single-pickup Esquire to market in 1950, but he quickly found he needed to compete with two and three-pickup electrics. Fender soon began producing two-pickup Esquires – now with truss rods – dubbing them Broadcasters. The name only lasted three months, after Gretsch politely pointed out its similarity to its Broadkaster drum line. In response, Fender simply cut the headstock decals, leaving only the Fender name – these valuable models are known as ‘Nocasters’, and were only produced for half of 1951. Drawing on the television age, manager Don Randall thought up Telecaster, and it wasn’t long…