5 Reasons Why Every Dork Plays The Guitar

The guitar is the most popular instrument by far.  Yeah, the guitar is synonymous with cool, but why?  What are the reasons behind the guitar's prominence?  The piano is pretty dope too, but there are far more guitarists than pianists* these days.  Let's get to the bottom of this.

1.  Chords

When two or more notes are sounded simultaneously, a chord is created.  Chords and chord progressions form the backbone of most music that we listen to.  Most songs you hear will have someone singing over an instrument(s) playing a series of chords.  You can't play chords on a single flute or clarinet, but you can on the guitar.

2.  Singing

You create sound on the guitar with your hands, therefore your mouth parts are free to sing.  Unless you go all Hendrix on it and pick with your teeth.  Sometimes, I just don't understand the 60's.  

3.  Portability

Now, a piano can play chords too.  Pianos sound beautiful, but try carrying one to the park, or band rehearsal, or that cute girl/boy's house. 

4.  Affordability 

You can get a fairly decent, low-end acoustic guitar for as little as $100.  The guitar is simply available to many more people than a lot of other instruments.  

5.  Expression

John Mayer's orgasm-ing guitar face aside, the electric guitar grew into the expressive instrument that it is today because you can put your hands directly on the strings and bend the shit out of them.  When channeled through a raging Marshall amp, the resulting howl makes the hair on the back of our neck stick up.  Coincidentally, most John Mayer fans have really hairy necks.

Well, there you have it.   Turns out the guitar really isn't that cool at all.  It just happens to be the one instrument that cheap dudes and dude-ettes can carry to their crush's house so they can impress them by playing chords while they sing John Mayer songs.

* this is an unfortunate word

10 comments:

  1. Lemme ask you this: how likely is it that someone (me) could learn to play the acoustic guitar when I can't read sheet music and I've repressed all the years the private elementary school I went to tried to teach me to read sheet music and I pretty much know nothing about music?

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    1. Hey Kevin, you don't really need to read sheet music at all to play chords on an acoustic guitar. You can get by with just chord diagrams and charts. I highly recommend The Acoustic Guitar Method by David Hamburger. You can get the book, or the book/DVD combo. I use it with a summer guitar class that I teach, and students are able to fluently play their first 6 or 7 chords in one month of daily instruction and practice.

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  2. Learning curve too.

    If you have a guitar, you can learn three chords and in a month sing 80% of the songs you love.

    If you have a piano, you can learn scales, and in a month you can play Mary Had a Little Lamb.

    It's hard to stay motivated on a piano. Asian guilt was the only thing keeping me practicing when I was a kid.

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    1. True, true. Once you learn the basic open chords: D, A, E, G, C, Am, Em and throw in the use of the capo, you can play many, many songs once you can confidently switch between that batch of chords.

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    2. And even with just DAG you can play more songs than you'd really think you could, including 90% of Irish folk songs. :)

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  3. I love my capo LOL! Makes me look like a dudette that knows what she's doing (when I am, in fact, cheating!). Funny!

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    1. Using a capo is not cheating. The acoustic guitar sounds much fuller and more musical when you have some open strings ringing. If you were to play a song in a Bb, it is a much more musical choice to use a capo on the third fret, rather than playing barre chords.

      I use open/altered tunings most of the time, and I use capos so I can utilize those open string for richer chord voicings and fuller sounding melodies.

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    2. When I bought my guitar back in 2007 it was maybe $200 for the whole kit, guitar, bag, amp and tuner.

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  4. You can also learn chords on a piano so you can "fake" it.

    But carrying one of those suckers around is a pain in the tookus...

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