Guitar Advice & Insights

Are you in need of guitar advice, inspiration, or just a good kick in the pants? Here you’ll find topics that address the kinds of things we guitarists think (and worry) about.

Tonika - Soviet Guitar

Tonika – The “Worst Guitar Ever”

In the electric guitar’s short history, there is a single instrument that has earned the title of “the worst electric guitar in existence.”1 The Tonika was the very first electric guitar manufactured in the Soviet Union, and its legend has made it into a collector’s item for all the reasons we’d usually pass on an instrument. […]

Is the Future of Guitar... Minimalist?

Is the Future of Guitar… Minimalist?

Being someone whose interest in guitars only began in the late 90s, I missed out on the ridiculous inventions that came out in the 70s and 80s that never seemed to catch on. There were a lot of metallic and fiberglass contraptions that made bold claims about the future of the electric guitar – but […]

Lauren Passarelli

Interview: Lauren Passarelli Answers YOUR Guitar Questions

This week we’re joined by Lauren Passarelli, a guitar professor at the Berklee College of Music since 1984, JamPlay.com instructor, and author of two Kindle ebooks: Guitar Insights (minor tweaks, major results) and Guitar Insights, Myths and What Matters. Lauren is also a Beatles’ expert, performer, songwriter, recording engineer, record producer, and the list goes […]

Flying with a guitar (as checked baggage)

Flying With a Guitar as Checked Baggage

Greg Asks: “I was wondering if you had any suggestions for flying with a guitar if it is not allowed to be carried on the plane.” Hi Greg! Even though there’s a law that allows musical instruments on flights, it doesn’t mean air crew have to let you take your guitar into the cabin. Just […]

5 Reasons to Pick Up a Guitar

5 Reasons to Pick Up a Guitar

Many people wish they could play a musical instrument, but just never seem to get around to it. Some of you may even think you’re too old to start learning. Of all the instruments out there, the guitar has got to be one of the most accessible. It’s also relatively easy to get started with. It […]

What One Piece of Gear Would You Love to Have?

Community Discussion: What One Piece of Music Gear Would You Love to Have?

I’d like to do something a little different and fun this week: a community discussion topic. In the comments at the bottom of this page, I’d love for you to tell me/us: If money & circumstances were no object, what ONE piece of music gear would you love to have, and why? A few basic (but […]

9 More Mistakes Made by New Guitar Owners

9 More Common Mistakes Made by New Guitar Owners

Awhile back, I wrote an article titled 11 Common Mistakes Made by New Guitar Owners. Wouldn’t ya know it, as soon as I published that article a bunch of other “common mistakes” started coming to me–things I’d completely forgotten about. So, let’s dive in! These aren’t in any particular order… 1. When changing strings, taking all the […]

6 Ways Guitarists Can Reduce Hand and Finger Pain

6 Ways Guitarists Can Reduce Hand and Finger Pain

In my previous blog post I talked about switching to ultra-light guitar strings to help alleviate finger and hand pain. That sparked a number of emails from readers asking if I have any other hand-saving tips. In fact, yes, there’s a lot more that you can do to make playing guitar less painful. I’m not a […]

Got Sore Fingers From Playing Guitar? Don't Give Up. Lighten Up!

Fingers Sore From Playing Guitar? Don’t Give Up. Lighten Up!

Got sore fingers from playing guitar? You’re not alone. No one wants to feel pain when they play guitar. It sucks. But for new guitar players, sore fingertips can be pretty demotivating. In fact, I’ve met people who quit (guitar) after just a few months of trying, simply because the pain was too great. There’s […]

Guitar Neglect: If You're Not Gonna Play It...

Guitar Neglect: If You’re Not Gonna Play It…

Recently, we decided to escape the summer heat for awhile by heading north to Flagstaff, AZ with the dog for the weekend. It’s much cooler up there, and Flagstaff is also home to the Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University, and a few good microbreweries, restaurants, etc. Pair all that with the fresh mountain air and nature and, […]

How I Backpacked With a Guitar and Made Money

How I Backpacked With a Guitar and Made Money

I’ve always been a guitar lover, but until a year ago, I never would have thought I could travel around the world with my guitar and make money. For the past five years, I had been a corporate robot and decided that I wasn’t getting any younger. I wanted to see the world and have […]

Should you loosen guitar strings before shipping?

Reader Question: Should You Loosen Guitar Strings Before Shipping?

Markus asks: I just sold a guitar and need to ship it. Should I loosen the strings before I pack it up for shipping? Ever so often, this question comes to me–usually from someone who just sold a guitar online, and is about to pack ‘er up for shipping. There’s a lot of debate out there about […]

7 Simple Mistakes Self-Taught Guitarists Make - and How to Fix Them

7 Simple Mistakes That Self-Taught Guitarists Make – And How to Fix Them

Being a guitar instructor means I often get to witness novice players doing some pretty weird things. I don’t mean pig’s blood and a chicken foot type weird–I mean “where on earth did you get that” kind of weird. Many of these errors in a guitarist’s technique or conceptual understanding come about by a simple […]

8 Mistakes Guitar Players Make That Cause String Buzz

8 Mistakes Guitar Players Make That Cause String Buzz

Last Updated: June 1, 2017 “Why are my guitar strings buzzing!?” It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked by concerned guitar owners. People’s reaction to guitar string buzz varies widely. For some it’s not a concern at all or they simply don’t notice it. For others, however, it can be maddening–to the point that […]

Playing Guitar Despite Physical Limitations

Do It Different: Playing Guitar Despite Physical Limitations

I’m probably the least-qualified person to be writing this post. When I was born on April 23rd, I popped out with 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers, and 10 toes. Everything was there and it all seemed to work okay. So, it was no problem for me to pick up a guitar as a kid. My […]

Are You Too Old to Start Learning Guitar?

Are You Too Old to Start Learning Guitar?

It’s a question I’ve heard asked in one shape or another several times: Am I too old to learn guitar? I’ve heard it from parents of young guitarists who “wish they could learn guitar” followed by “I’m too old now, what’s the point in learning?” Well, what makes you too old to learn guitar now? […]

11 Things My First Year Playing Guitar Taught Me

11 Things My First Year Playing Guitar Taught Me

After celebrating my first year anniversary with my guitar it’s time to look back on some awesome adventures and lessons learned. Lesson 1: it’s ok to suck after playing guitar for one year Yes. That’s right. Sure looks fun and easy whenever [insert name of your favourite guitarist here] does it, huh? No worries. There’s […]

Guitar String Labels Demystified - Buy the Right Guitar Strings for Your Guitar

Guitar String Labels Demystified

You’ve had your new guitar a few months now, and the time has come for a fresh set of strings. You head to your local guitar store without much of an idea of what you like, want, or need–because you’ve decided you’ll just look around and figure it out once you get there. You walk into […]