A Cheap Upgrade And A Happy Holidays
Welcome to this edition of the Fingerstyle Monthly.
This month we're going to take a look at one of the least expensive upgrades that a guitarist can make. A new set of strings.
Guitar strings are one of the most mundane items on the guitarists equipment list. Like Rodny Dangerfield, they get no respect. But they should. Imagine trying to play without them!
We guitarists are some of the most gear oriented people on the planet. We obssess about new guitars, amps, effects units and nearly everything else guitar oriented.
Somehow, the lowly guitar string gets overlooked.
A lot of the time, veteran players get stuck in a rut. They have decided on a brand and model of string and stick with it. Even when they buy a new guitar, they stick to "Old Faithful".
For newer players, it's a different situation. Sometimes they aren't aware of what a difference strings can make. They can also be a little nervous about how to go about changing them. Of course, the best way to get over that fear, is to change your guitar strings. After you do it a few times, it becomes no big deal.
For an idea of what difference it makes, check out this video that I recently shot.
While it's not the best playing that I've ever done, I think that it's a good example of how the different strings sound. And I made a real discovery. While the light gauge set doesn't make the cone "bark" like the mediums did, they are much easier to play. A slight change in tone is a sacrifice that I can make in this situation.
So, the right type (gauge and alloy) of strings can have a real effect on the way the instrument plays and sounds.
The condition of the strings is the other big factor. If your guitars strings are old and worn, they'll be hard to tune and won't sound good.
This is usually a problem for beginning players. I think that the "fear of changing strings syndrome" may be the culprit here. Here's a refresher course on how to change them.
Why am I suddenly obsessed with guitar strings? It's not really anything new for me. I've known the difference that new strings make for a long time. But, I'm one of those old veterans that I mentioned earlier. I've used the same brand of strings forever.
I didn't think about trying different brands and alloys until I read this book. It made me re-think some things that I thought I was knowlegeable about. I guess that even us "old dogs" can learn new tricks!
I hope that you have a great Holiday Season. In honor of the season, I've arranged a medley of Holiday songs exclusively for the subscibers of Fingerstyle Monthly.
You can download the medley here. You will need a TEF viewer to see the music. You can download it free here.
I hope that you have a joyous and safe Holiday Season. See you next month!
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