Two obstacles stand in the way of any aspiring musician: selecting the right instrument and having the passion to start playing and stick with it. For someone playing guitar, for example, picking out the right axe and having the perseverance to keep plucking away at the strings to learn his or her favorite song are vital. Fortunately, there is help available.
Herb David, owner and founder of the 43-year-old Herb David Guitar Studio on 302 E. Liberty St., said there are a lot of reasons someone might want to play music.
“All you need to do is play. Music is free, it feels good, it tastes good, makes you feel better, puts a twinkle in your toes, makes you walk lighter, and inspires you,” he said smiling, stressing that the word “play” is so important. David added, “It’s kind of like shuffling along like a penguin instead of waddling like a duck.”
For those who have never played a guitar before, the process of figuring out how to start, without the proper knowledge, is an intimidating task. It may help to ask an experienced musician about what they went through when they first started.
“Initially, learning how to play an instrument can be an extremely frustrating process. When you start, your first inclination is going to be that you want to play the music you are interested in right away,” said LSA junior Matt Aldridge, who has played the clarinet and piano for seven and six years respectively.
Regarding his playing experience, Aldridge added, “Obviously, this cannot happen and so frustration mounts. Instead of letting the frustration deter you from playing, use it as a form of motivation and you will find great rewards in your dedication.”
When looking for a guitar to start off with, there are a variety to choose from, the most popular choice being the six-string guitar.
Guitars come in all shapes and sizes, either in electric or acoustic models. They range in price with the low-end models starting at $149, while custom-made instruments are priced around $5,500.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” holds true when shopping for a guitar. An experienced player knows that the best guitars will cost a little more.
However, when it comes to mid-priced guitars, price doesn’t necessarily determine the quality. One should sit down and play as many different brands and styles as needed until a comfort level is found.
The Herb David Guitar Studio sells a large collection of electric and acoustic guitars. They have beginning guitar kits — made by Fender — available in both models.
The acoustic kit includes a Squirer guitar, pitch pipe, nylon strap, picks, gig bag and instructional booklet for $116. Herb David offers in-store setup and will tune and retune your guitar.
The electric kit includes a Stratocaster guitar, Frontman 15 amp, tuner, strings, gig bag, electric cord to plug into the amp and an instructional book, for $279.99.
For the beginner guitar player, an acoustic guitar is ideal for learning. However, the downside to them is that they are limited in what they can do in terms of sound variation. They also require a lot more care due to their sensitivity to temperature and humidity.
An acoustic guitar provides a unique sound that comes from the wood used in the body. Spruce, maple, and mahogany woods are a small sample of what can be found on an acoustic. Different woods also provide a variety of color, enhancing the appearance and individualism of the instrument. The sound produced by an electric guitar is mainly based on the instrument’s pickup and the amplifier that is being used.
Once a guitar is picked out, the next step is figuring out how to play it. Herb David provides an array of 16 instructors who are able to assist in beginning instruction. There is an instructor for just about every type of music available. One can learn the techniques of classical, blues, jazz, rock, fusion, folk, country and flamenco guitar.
Lessons at Herb David are $20 for a half-hour session. When looking for a teacher, it is recommended to choose two or three different genres that may be of interest. Also, bring along a schedule so that time slots can easily be accommodated.
Even though it is highly suggested to take at least two months of lessons when starting off, there are other forms of literature available to use when becoming familiar with the guitar. Instructional books, from chord shape dictionaries to all the major scales on a guitar, provide an easy, non-interactive method of learning. These can be found at any guitar store and most music stores.
Good luck becoming a rock star.