Best Acoustic Guitar for You

There are various reasons to consider getting a new acoustic guitar – maybe you’re just starting out with the instrument and need a good starting piece, or perhaps you’d like to practice on something other than your electric guitar for a change – or perhaps you have the intention to either record your music or play live professionally at a gig that’s coming up. Regardless, you have quite the decision on your hands, and this can sometimes be very confusing as the choice can be a difficult one.

To help get you through this more easily, here are 5 important points to consider when making your decision.

  1. Your playing style – acoustic guitars can be split into two large categories according to the type of guitar string, being nylon-string guitars and steel-string ones. You can’t interchange the two in any way, as they’re specifically designed for the tone and sound they’re producing, as well as various other factors. Nylon string acoustic guitars are typically called “classical” guitars, but they may also be used for folk or even for softer rock pieces, such as the guitar Eric Clapton used on “Tears in Heaven.” Steel string guitars have a crisp, loud and resonating tone which better reflects country and mainstream rock players’ styles. If you know what string type you’re looking for, you’re already on your way to getting the right guitar.
  2. Experience level - it matters quite a lot whether you’re a beginner, intermediate player or just headed towards professional playing where it’s important to perform and do studio work. You’ll definitely want to take all of this into consideration – when starting out, there’s a good chance that you’re not recording (professionally, anyway) or playing live, so you can go with a more beginner-oriented acoustic guitar. Intermediate players have the best choice, with tons of different great acoustic guitars under $1000, while professionals would normally be looking for something above that range. The greatest factors that have an impact on the cost of an acoustic guitar are the type of wood it’s made from, the quality of the different components (like the bridge, nut and gears), as well as the brand and the history of the guitar. As someone who’s just getting started or even an intermediate player, something rare and expensive won’t likely suit your needs very well.
  3. Tone, sustain and warmth - guitars vary quite a lot based on these factors, which is often a result of the type of wood used, the bridge and nut material, as well as the guitar’s shape. Strings matter too – and there are overall quite a few things to keep in mind.
  4. Strictly acoustic, or acoustic-electric – if you have an intention to amplify your acoustic guitar, either for playing in small groups or for recording, then you’ll want to look for an acoustic-electric with special pickups.
  5. Finances – no matter what your playing skills are, it’s important to be realistic about your budget, and know in advance how much you’re willing to spend as well as the average price of the guitars you’re interested in.

The Story Behind Adele’s “Someone Like You”

As a songwriter myself I’ve always felt that one of the best indicators of how talented artists really are is, What can they do with just one instrument and their voice? No rhythm section, no strings, no synthesizer… nothing. Just you and your instrument. I can think of several superb examples over the years, such as Simon and Garfunkel’s “For Emily, wherever I may find her,” Elton John’s “Talking old soldiers,” and Cat Stevens’ “Sweet Scarlet.” But these and other examples have just been trumped by Adele’s smash hit “Someone like you.”

How successful was this song? Try this out: it is the only song in the entire history of the Billboard Hot 100 charts that consists of just a piano and a vocal to ever hit the number one spot. Over a thousand songs have hit #1 since Billboard began keeping track in 1958. Adele’s is the first of its kind to reach the top.

So what was behind this groundbreaking ballad? We know that Adele ended an eighteen month-long relationship with a 30-year old man whom she was convinced she would marry and that this breakup inspired her two other hits, “Rolling in the Deep” and “Rumour has it.” Sadly (or perhaps not, considering how many copies it sold), the same doomed romance inspired “Someone like you” as well.

But now there was a new added twist. Her ex had become engaged to another woman a few months after leaving Adele. As she herself put it in an interview, “… when I found out that he does want that (marriage) with someone else, it was just the horrible-est feeling ever. But after I wrote it, I felt more at peace. It set me free. I’m wiser in my songs. My words are always what I can never say (in real life). But I didn’t think it would resonate… with the world! I’m never gonna write a song like that again. I think that’s the song I’ll be known for.” In her imagination she saw herself as middle-aged and still single, looking up her ex years later only to find that he married someone beautiful, had children, and was living “happily ever after.”

She co-wrote the song with Dan Wilson of Semisonic fame. But her contribution to the song didn’t exactly arrive easily: “I wrote that song on the end of my bed. I had a cold. I was waiting for my bath to run. I’d found out he’d got engaged. And it blows my mind how things cross over like that.” Perhaps more songwriters should contract viral syndromes.

She and Wilson recorded a “demo” of just her voice and Wilson playing the piano, expecting that co-producer Rick Rubin would add strings and choirs to turn it into a lush, vast ballad. Instead as insiders listened to it and were consistently brought to tears the duo decided to keep their first-draft “demo” instead.

Incidentally, that’s not the first time something like that has happened. Bruce Springsteen’s haunting 1982 acoustic record “Nebraska” was mastered straight from a cassette full of demos that the Boss kept in his pocket (without a case) while the E Street Band played the stuffing out of all the songs. Only later did everyone, including Springsteen, come to realize that the cassette in his back pocket was the best version.

Writing Country Music

Writing country music requires experience and creativity. When writing country music, make use of free expression emotions – happiness, sadness, optimism, love and hate. Start by writing down your ideas and then go back to turn it into a structured song that is set to a good tune. Here are some effective tips that can help you when writing country music.

All country songs are written around the “hook.” It is a phrase which is repeated many times in a country tune. It makes the song memorable. The hook comes initially in the song, often in chorus; it is repeated many times.

Before writing a country song, carefully listen to popular country songs and note their structure. Transcribe and study the lyrics because this practice will make you more familiar with the structure of country songs. You will eventually learn how patterns emerge and how they can be applied to your compositions. This will lead you to becoming an effective and efficient country writer.

Writing country music requires solid chord progressions. The lyrics are written around and build from the instrumental chords. As a country song writer, keep in mind that good looking words may not fit into song structure. They require fine tuning and rearrangement to complement the music.

Writing simple lyrics that tell a story is at the heart of writing country music lyrics. In addition, you should not be afraid of odd music structure since some of the most popular songs have broken the rules. Your simplicity in writing country lyrics can be the hallmark of your hit song.

A country song writer must progress a story in his mind before writing a country song. This is because all good country songs tell a story. Paint a picture that describes the narrator’s experience. The narrator is the singer. You can use concrete images and strong verbs for high impact. Try to come up with new ideas and ways of writing country music.

The most important tip to remember is that your song leaves an image in the mind of the listener. Your lyrics define that image and remains in the listeners’ minds. Try making memorable mental pictures and avoid the vivid ones. Use your experiences to write lyrics instead of creating from other people’s experiences. True experiences are straightforward and genuine, which means people will relate to the song lyrics. You can work with country music ghostwriters to help write your lyrics and instrumental.