Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Does the Guitar of the future have no body?

  • This futuristic titanium instrument claims to be more responsive than other guitars.
  • Is made from aircraft grade titanium with fret markings provided by LED lights.
  • New York group trying to raise $80k and bring the product to market.

Minimalist DesignerIn the 1970’s musician and minimalist designer Alan Gittler came up with a design that he believed could revolutionise guitars of the future. His design for a guitar had no body or neck and was to be the first made with all-titanium.

With minimalist principles in mind Gittler set out to remove all the non essential elements, stripping the guitar back to the core of its functionality and leaving only what couldn't be removed if it was still to work.

Although wood has been used since the first ever guitar, it has been proved that it is not necessary for the instrument to function.

‘The basic elements of vibration and gain were the only truly indispensable elements at play when making sound,’ claims New York-based Gittler Instruments.

Everything else, it said, simply existed to shape and mould that sound to the individual player's taste.

The thinking behind this was that by stripping back the instrument to its pure functionality, it would become ultra responsive to every nuance of playing, however subtle. By doing this better sounds and playing techniques could be developed. Gittler also did away with not only the body but most of the neck and all volume and tone controls.

In 2013, Gittler's son Jonathan is carrying on his father's legacy by reinventing the bare bones bass. The latest version of the guitar is manufactured entirely of 6AL-4V aircraft grade titanium. Like his fathers original design, it has no neck or body - although an acrylic guitar neck can be added, if needed. Fret marking is done with built-in LED lights installed in tiny cross holes across the guitar's central channel.

An electronic box in the back of the guitar contains a volume wheel, dual tone controls for treble and bass.
Gittler GuitarThe 30.25 inch and three inch wide Gittler guitars are thought to be the world's first model to include six transducers in a single guitar unit.

Gittler Instruments said it is now ready to bring a fully realised concept, and not just a prototype, to the market. It has launched a campaign via crowdsourcing site Kickstarter to raise $80,000 by November 14.
A $2,000 pledge will get you one of the first Gittler guitars made for the mass market.

Although you'll have to follow that up with another $1,995 payment to receive the instrument, which the group promises will provide a 'guitar playing experience that is out of this world.'

Friday, 18 October 2013

How to make money teaching guitar...

If you're reading this Blog, I think its fair to assume you can probably play at least a few chords on the guitar. However, if you're a certified guitar master who can put Hendrix to shame or more likely, a competent player who wants to make a bit more cash from their skill. Maybe you should consider spreading your skills to other hungry apprentices?

Some guitarists make a full time living from this, but even if you could earn a side income from your efforts, that could still be a worthwhile use of your talent, right? If so, read on for all the info.
Earning Money from Guitar Lessons

There is a difference between playing Guitar and Teaching it

Before embarking on teaching guitar it is worth remembering that being able to play well, doesn't necessarily mean you can teach it well. Passing on knowledge to someone else is a completely different skill than being able to do it yourself. To teach well, try to see things from their point of view. Just because something is obvious to you it doesn't mean it is to them, you only know it because of experience and learning it. If your pupil is a complete beginner, the chances are they don't know the 'obvious' things. Think back to how you learnt and what helped you to grasp the concepts originally, it may also help to think back to any lessons you had for some inspiration. Being a great guitar player is certainly an advantage, but by no means is it a given that you will be a great teacher.

Do you need to be qualified?

There is no need for a formal qualification, but you do need to be qualified in the sense that you need to know what you're talking about and able to impart good practices onto your students. If you're not fully confident you can make people better guitarists, it may be best not to give lessons quite yet. You need to be able to teach your students something worthwhile and they need to see that they can learn something from you.

There are three main ways of teaching giving guitar lessons, they are:

1) Teaching in Person

This the obvious and traditional method of teaching guitar, one to one. in person. Whether you take one student or multiple, you meet them at their house, yours or a studio. 

This can either be done by doing private lessons (that are usually more lucrative) or by teaching in a school, college or an academy. Doing private lessons means you're your own boss, can work when you want and not working for anyone else. Teaching in a school requires you to apply for a job and they are typically looking for qualifications as prove of your expertise or ability to teach. Having a job as a guitar teacher is however a regular pay packet, so will suit those who prefer the stability and a guaranteed income.

2) Teaching Guitar Lessons Online

Another option is to teach your lessons online via a video calling service such as Skype. This is virtually the same as teaching in person and you get to be your own boss. The obvious difference is that your doing it over the internet. The convenience comes in not having to travel to teach your students, you can fit more lessons into shorter time period and you can spread the lessons out throughout the day. You are also not restricted by your local area, meaning you could teach someone on the other side of the world. 

The downsides are that you won't be able to physically adjust their hand movements if a student is having difficulty picking something up, and you'll be staring at a computer screen the whole time (some people don't like this). If you can live with the down sides though, this is a very good way to get your guitar teaching business started.

3) Pre-Recorded Lessons Online

A pre-recorded course, hosted on a site with a pupil membership fee or on video streaming sites such as YouTube where you receive revenue from advertising, is a very effective way of teaching guitar. It also requires the least effort, as once you have recorded all the lessons that a pupil will need there is no further effort required, except maybe a few help emails. You can teach hundreds or even thousands of pupils at the same time, with no further effort from yourself! This wouldn't be possible if you tried to use the other two methods. The money you will receive per lesson is likely to be less, but you can make up for this in the frequency of lessons. Also similar way to the second method, you have even less interaction with your pupils to guide their learning. 

Which is best?

There is no definitive best way, they all have their good and bad points. It is all about finding the method you find most effective and using that. For any of the methods to work though, you'll have to market your services effectively to get some students in the first place. In this day and age that means a website, social media and more besides. We know a thing or two about getting the word out about a guitar business, so drop us a line and we could point you in the right direction for advice. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Guide to Buying your first Guitar - Part 2

So in Part One we talked about guitar types, your preferred genre, budget, flexibility and portability. We will now go into more detail on acoustic and electric recommendations, where to buy, online shopping and everything else you need to know...

Guitar StoresAcoustic: A steel string acoustic is probably the best choice for newbies, especially as your fingers get used to the heavier strings. so once you can play it you can easily switch to other guitars. It is also portable and flexible with the regards to the musical styles that can played on it.

Acoustic Recommendations:

  • Ibanez G Series G100 Classical Acoustic Guitar
  • Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe Acoustic Guitar Package (standard size)
  • Squier MA-1 ¾-Size Steel-String Acoustic Guitar (¾ size)
  • Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic-Electric Player Pack

Electric: Although we recommended an acoustic for beginners, its actually easier to learn on an electric. However, it is also easier to pick up bad habits because the electronics and amplifier will cover your mistakes. This can hinder your future development and progress if left unchecked. Also worth considering is the space the amp will need and the fact you will need it on hand if you want to practice. We recommend a fixed bridge electric guitar for beginners to remove potential maintenance issues, a floating bridge which is the alternative has several moving parts so that a whammy bar can installed.

Electric Recommendations:

  • Dean Playmate EVO Junior Solid Body Electric Guitar, Classic Black, ¾-Size
  • Ibanez IJX121 Metal Guitar Jumpstart Package
  • Amplifier: 15 - 40 watts is plenty for home use

Where to Buy?

When it comes to buying your treasured first guitar there is no where better than a music store, they are generally the friendliest retail environments you will get. The staff are usually extremely passionate about music and always keen to share their passion. So if you let them know that you are a first time buyer, you’ll more than likely get some expert guidance.

When deciding make sure you get a staff member or a friend to play a selection of guitars for you so can hear if you like the sound. Also make sure that you’re strumming arm can easily reach around the body, check this by handling the guitars and see how it feels how it fits. As its your first guitar don’t stress about the type of wood its made from, however solid wood tends to be better than laminate material though.

So if the sound is good, it is comfortable to play and is within your price range, then this is the one to go for!

Also remember just like many retail environments, products that are on the shop floor on display are used for demo purposes. Guitars that have been used for demo's and played many times by others run the risk of being damaged.

  • Warping is bad, look down the neck and make sure it’s perfectly straight.
  • Make sure there isn't any cracks, imperfections or dings.
  • Make sure the frets (the bars that run across the neck) are flush with the edge of the neck. They should not stick out beyond the neck, nor should they be shorter than the width of the neck.

If the guitar is damaged do not buy it, it is likely to let you down and ultimately need replacement in the future.

Ask your guitar playing friend or staff member to check that the strings are not set too high off the fret board. If they are too high, you will find it difficult to press the strings to the fret board. If it is too low there will be a rattling sound whilst playing. It is important to get this right.

You also need to be sure you get a new set of high quality strings put on it and that the store will tune it. Especially, as mentioned, if the guitar has been played many time in store.

The look of the guitar is also important, you want to get something that makes you feel like a superstar even if you can’t play anything yet.

Buying Online: As long as you know the guitar you want, then this should be relatively simple. However, please be aware that you cannot carry out any of the tests mentioned above and this may mean returning if their turns out to be a problem.

Please remember to support your local guitar store, especially if they offer fantastic service. Even if you can find the guitar cheaper elsewhere, you are more than likely to be able to negotiate and see if they can be competitive. The knowledge and experience these stores offer is invaluable for newbies and experienced players alike.

Please leave your first guitar buying recommendations below or let us know on social media.