Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Carlos Santana, Slash - what do they have in common? In the often wild but never dull world of music, these four are just a few of the elite set of popular guitar-wielding musicians. Their fame and mass appeal may be attributed to their fancy fingers, fast hands and overall commercial packaging.
What is it about playing the guitar that has millions of people yearning to pick up and pluck this weird-shaped, (usually) six-stringed musical instrument? The most obvious reason for choosing this most popular of all the stringed musical instruments is its accessibility. A guitar is less pricey than say, a piano. It can also hold its own, whether played alone, in a band, or just as a musical accompaniment. And of more significance, the guitar is a musical instrument that is relatively easier to learn. All one needs to have is a reliable chord chart, a pick for plucking the strings (optional) and of course, one's own guitar. A lot of patience and interest will surely add to the ease of learning and improving guitar-playing.
In mainstream music, there are basically two types of guitars - the electric guitar and the acoustic guitar. Now, what makes one different from the other? For one, the former is usually the more expensive type of guitar. A rather more technical point of comparison between these two types of guitar is their body. Though both made out of wood, the body of the electric guitar is usually a thin solid piece while the acoustic guitar's is thick with a hollow center. Why is this so? Because of the sound they produce. The electric guitar is solid because the sound it produces is very faint.
The sound people hear does not come from the instrument itself. The electric guitar uses external amplifiers to make the sound audible. The acoustic guitar, on the other hand, does not depend on any external amplification. The sound it produces is fairly audible. However, in a large venue, it is not that loud an instrument. That is why it is common to see a microphone placed in front of an acoustic guitar. A more modern method of amplifying an acoustic guitar is thru internal electronic amplification placed inside its hollow body. Their most notable difference is the sound they produce. Because of its external amplification, the loud music of the electric guitar is usually used for a lively, hyped and more upbeat audience. An acoustic guitar, on the other hand, produces music that is more soulful and soothing, usually played for a more relaxed and subdued audience.
Therefore, if you are thinking of learning how to play the guitar, the old adage applies: "Practice makes perfect." However, learning to play the guitar should be done with the noblest of intentions - making beautiful music. If you are in it for the money, better stop before your fingers start getting sore. Even expecting to make a decent living out of playing the guitar is already too much of an expectation. And yet, who knows?
But even if no one will be interested to purchase your guitar on ebay after you have decided to put it up for retirement, it does not mean everything you and your guitar have been through meant nothing. There will always be those memories you will picture - those times when you alone cannot contain all your emotions inside and you just had to release them by picking up your guitar and playing your own version of "beautiful music." After all, beauty is in the eye, in this case, the ear, of the beholder.