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The Guitar

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in modern music and is played by musicians all around the world. Find out more about this stringed instrument.

The Guitar - Strung Out

The guitar is a member of the string family of instruments. Most guitars have six strings, while more complex ones have 12 strings. A guitar is made of a long neck separated by frets (sections marked with metal bars) and a hollow body with a wide hole. The strings extend from the top of the neck, over the hole, to the bottom. Guitars are usually made of wood and metal. The strings are usually made out of nylon or steel. Nylon strings are recommended for beginners because they're a little easier on the fingers. Frets or sections are marked off on the neck of the guitar to help players identify chords. By pressing your fingers against the strings in different ways, different chords are produced. When you hold a chord while strumming the strings you produce sounds and notes. These sounds are amplified by the hollow body.

The Guitar - Learning To Play

Some schools offer guitar lessons as part of their music program. If you're interested in learning to play and lessons aren't available at school, you can also sign-up for private lessons. If this isn't an option for you, you could also try teaching yourself by using a beginner instructional books or DVDs. In fact, many of the world's best guitarists learned to play by teaching themselves.

The Guitar - Did You Know?

  • One of the most amazing guitar players in history was Jimi Hendrix - who also taught himself to play. He would play it behind his back, grind the strings against amplifiers and even play his guitar with his teeth.
  • The world's smallest guitar is carved from a block of silicon and is just 10 micrometers long - 1/20 of the thickness of human hair! Each string is 1/500 inch (.05 mm) thick. The guitar was made in order to demonstrate a new technology that could be used in fiber optics, displays and sensors.
  • In January 2005, Guillermo Paolisso Terraza of Argentina set a world record by playing guitar for 42 hours straight.
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