Guitar is one of the most unique instruments in music today. The range of sound you can get out of a guitar is very broad. Which is mainly why it is used for so many different types of music. The style that the electric guitar is known most for is rock and roll. This is the music that gave birth to the electric guitar. Styles such as blues and jazz will still use an electric guitar, but will use a clean tone instead of a distorted tone. Distortion is what gives the electric guitar the overdrive or “heavy” sound.
Aside from the electric guitar, there are Acoustic guitars, Banjos, and Bass. Acoustic guitar has a very powerful sound and doesn’t require an amplifier to get a great sound out of it. Banjo’s started with bluegrass and country style music. The bass guitar usually only has four strings but the sound that comes from a bass is very deep in tone. Basses are used to give a song structure or backing. It is also used to give the guitar player room to improvise within the notes or riff that the bass player is playing. Guitar used along with other instruments can be astounding. If you have four people that know music theory, you could take basic scales and notes and make a great sounding jam.
Over the last five decades the guitar in modern music is the most dominant force for modern audiences. Over the last fifty years of popular music, the guitar has had “Elvis gyrating behind it, Jimi setting it on fire, and Kurt bashing it to pieces”. Despite the reputation of guitar in popular music, it is more than the naughty stepchild of the strings family. For other musicians it can be a classical instrument with many unique possibilities.
In guitar theory, there are many scales which you can use to make riffs or leads. A scale with a guitar is a set of notes that sound good together when played with certain techniques. The major scale is one of the fire scales you should learn when you start playing the guitar. The major scale is the starting point for all types of music theory. The minor pentatonic scale is the most used scale in blues and rock style music. Pentatonic means five, so the scale only cycles through five individual notes until you are back at the root. The blues scale is the pentatonic scale with one extra note added in both octaves. Then there is the major pentatonic and minor scales. Many of these scales have similar positions and structure with just small changes to make it sound differently in a riff of lead.
Playing the guitar is a good skill to have if you enjoy music. If you are a beginner at guitar you should probably want to start out learning basic music theory first. Basic music theory consists of learning all of the letters assigned to each string on the guitar. It also consists of how flat and sharp notes sound and work together. Guitar works the same way as all other instruments as far as music theory goes. This is why the guitar sounds good with all different types of music. In my opinion the guitar is the most versatile and unique instruments because yo can get so much sound out of it in so many different ways.
Famous guitar players such as Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia started a revolution of using technical techniques in popular music. The grateful dead started a new genre of music in the 60’s and gave birth to what is now known as the “Jam band”. This type of music is based largely around the guitar shaping the songs structure. Jerry Garcia use the pentatonic and diminished scales to make music that many people have not heard before. Jimi Hendrix to many people is on of the greatest guitarists that ever lived. He has a style of playing like no one else. He played his guitar upside down and many times he even would use his teeth as a guitar pick. He is well known for his great live performances especially his version of the Star Spangled Banner, which he preformed at Woodstock in 1969.
The guitar has many ways of being played and technique is a big part of the type of sound you get out of it. Many guitar solo’s use techniques such as hammer-on’s, pull off’s, bending, sliding, tapping, and sweep picking. A hammer on is performed by bringing a fretting hand finger down onto one of the frets on the fretboard to get the sound of the note without actually picking out the note. The opposite of a hammer-on is a pull off. A pull off is when you pull your fretting hand finger off the fretboard quickly to get the sound of the note. When you use a lot of hammer-ons and pull offs together in a solo this technique is called trills. Trills produce a nice rippling effect and sound great with any type of rock solo.