Our guide to electric guitar

Our guide to electric guitar

First published date January 21 2014 Amended date April 22 2015

Do you have an electric guitar gathering dust in the cupboard that you tried to learn to play but gave up? Or do you feel like picking up a new hobby and buying a guitar? Either way if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Jimmy, be it Hendrix or Page, there are many courses available to you if you want to master the electric guitar. The electric guitar is a powerful instrument that has created numerous icons over the years, made political statements and captured audiences all over the world with its unique sounds and beautiful exterior. The electric guitar came to prominence in the early 1930s when amplification of the acoustic was required as they could not be heard above other louder brass instruments in band performances. George Beauchamp is argued to have created the first electrified guitar in 1931, the rest as they say, is history.


I am a complete beginner...

Whether you’re a total novice or a seasoned veteran looking to learn new techniques, you can choose a course according to your current ability. It doesn’t matter if you’re a master of the pentatonic scale or if you don’t know the difference between an A chord or a vocal cord, there is a point for everyone to pick up a course on. 


What will the course entail?

Your course will vary not only according to which level you choose to start at, be it advanced or beginner, there are a number of different types of courses you can take, there isn’t just tuition or ‘how to play’ courses. Some can be genre specific like blues or metal, so if you prefer Metallica to The Beatles or Marilyn Manson to Cliff Richard, there will be a course to suit you. You can also take a course in guitar maintenance for those who may be a magician with an axe but can’t change a string or adjust a bridge for love nor money. Courses can be booked as hourly one on one tuitions or group classes that run for multiple weeks. Some courses are also continuous, so you can book a course of sessions and upon completion you can go on and book the next stage of classes which will become more advanced as you go on. The benefit of this is you can take the next step of lesson whenever you feel ready and are not obliged to book all in one go. The majority will expect you to provide your own guitar of course as well as amplifier.


How will it benefit me?

Most people when they first pick up a guitar don’t really know where to begin. Do you start by learning chords, picking notes or tuning? If you book a course, the guidance and tuition offered will make sure you don’t start on the wrong foot and pick up bad habits. Being able to play a musical instrument is an excellent skill and hobby to possess. Having a play at home or with friends is sociable and can be a lot of fun, and who knows where that inspiring jam session may lead to? While you might not become a 21st century Jimi Hendrix, (who knows you may do) taking up an electric guitar course may lead you to your new found calling.


Why electric?

They look really cool... But seriously if you took a course in electric guitar specifically, don’t worry, picking up an acoustic won’t be alien to you, they’re the same instrument in essence. Chords are the same, theory is the same, tunings are the same - where they differ is of course their sound. While an acoustic has a beautiful, clean and classical tone, there is so much room for experimenting with an electric. Whether heavy distortion takes your fancy, or playing around with a whammy pedal like the intro to Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, the technology behind an electric gives you a lot of room to have fun and play with. Investing in the right amplifier is just as important as the guitar itself in the electric world.


Some guitar trivia

  • The world’s most expensive guitar was sold at auction for a whopping $2.7 million. The Fender Stratocaster was signed by multiple rock legends including Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton to raise funds for Reach Out to Asia back in 2005, a charity set-up to help tsunami victims.


  • Guitar pioneer and icon, Jimi Hendrix’s first instrument was a one stringed ukulele that he found when working with his father.


  • The Guinness World Record for the world’s largest playable guitar stands in at over 13 meters tall and 5 meters wide.