Chances are, if you ever thought about picking up an instrument, it was a guitar. You might've spotted a rock star shredding his Fender Stratocaster, or noticed the intricate, multi-voice stylings of a classical guitar player on an acoustic model. Or, the unique, specific and incredibly different ways reggae, ska, punk and jazz guitarists approached the instrument spoke to you.
Thinking about playing the guitar? Whether you're interested in lessons or you're doing it yourself via tablature, you have several options.
Everyone is encouraged to start on an acoustic guitar before they move onto an electric. Whether you intend to study classical guitar or eventually plan to move onto a model requiring an amplifier, an acoustic gives you a solid, technical foundation and an understanding of how the instrument should sound on its own, no bells and whistles.
The guitar grew out of the vihuela, a lute-like Medieval instrument. Antonio Torres Jurado developed the first guitar in the 19th century, and while minor changes have occurred, its design retains similar elements, including a hollow wood body, flat neck with frets, and six strings that vibrate when the player strums over them with their fingers or pick.
As with all stringed instruments, the guitar initially had catgut strings. Today, nylon strings are preferred, especially for classical and Spanish guitar playing. Steel strings, however, are ideal for acoustic guitars in folk, country, bluegrass and rock.
The electric guitar appeared decades after the first official acoustic model. Offering a different playing experience, electric guitars allow the user to sustain notes, making them ideal for jazz and rock. Pedals, the amplifier and other devices for effects open up additional sonic possibilities.
Made of wood, electric guitars initially featured a hollow body, but today, a solid design eliminates many of the potential feedback issues. Differentiating themselves from acoustic guitars, electric models feature a pickup, which transmits the strings' vibrations as signals to the amplifier, where they emerge as sounds.
The double bass serves as the precursor to the bass guitar, otherwise known as the electric bass. Progressing from classical to jazz, rock, hip-hop and other genres, the bass guitar features a similar arrangement of strings, tuned in descending fourths, but is played like an electric guitar.
While Audiovox introduced the first electric bass in the 1930s not long after the electric guitar debuted, Fender revolutionized the instrument roughly two decades later, basing it on their Telecaster model. Today, you'll come across four-, five- and six-string electric bass guitars.
Baritone guitars represent a midpoint between the bass and classic electric guitar. A six-string fretted instrument with a 27- to 30-inch scale length, the baritone guitar is slightly larger than the traditional electric guitar. This arrangement allows it to produce lower notes and a full, deeper tone and eliminates the need to tune down a standard guitar.
Find Your Guitar
Whether you're thinking about an electric or acoustic or want to venture into the world of bass, begin your journey or revolutionize your sound through Alamo Music Center. Shop standard and left-handed guitars from trusted brands like Fender, Taylor, Martin, Ibanez, Gretsch, Yamaha and more. We offer multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month, no-interest options at times, plus trial lessons and an extended warranty.