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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A Beginner's guide to setting up an electric guitar and its accessories

When I first got my electric guitar I didn’t know how to set it up properly to play all the cool riffs these electric guitar guys played. I asked some guitarists, certain questions before I figured it all out. It might seem like common knowledge among the guitar world, but trust me, there was a time in which I didn’t know what to do, what to buy.

So, I thought I'd put up a very basic set of requirements for setting up an electric guitar to start playing and a little bit more than, just playing.

Things you'll need:
·         Power supply.
·         An Electric Guitar.
·         A fully chromatic tuner.
·         Picks for playing.
·         Spare strings.
·         An amplifier (with a speaker attached to it).
·         A guitar effect pedal if you want to pitch in some fuzz and distortion and other cool effects.
·         Cables, cables and more cables with 6.5 mm jack! They connect the guitar, amplifier and the pedals and your laptop. They connect everything!
·         Adapters for conversion from 6.5 mm to 3.5 mm and vice versa just in case you need to plug in to your PC or plug your ear phone in your amplifier.(Optional)
·         A Laptop or PC for recording your guitar sound (Optional)
·         A Webcam for recording your performance(Optional)
·         Recording software.
·         A head phone/ear phone (for practising without messing with anyone) (Optional)
·         And a lot of perseverance and practice (not sold on stores)

Electric Guitar:
For beginners I suggest a Yamaha Pacifica series, something which suits your budget. Do not go for cheap guitars, trust me in this. The build quality plays a major role in you playing a guitar than the tonality of the guitar itself!

A fully chromatic Tuner:
A tuner is something which you use to tune the guitar strings to the correct notes. A fully chromatic tuner helps you tune your strings in all 12 notes; the twelve notes being, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A# and B. A fully chromatic tuner is important!

Picks for playing:
These are the triangle shaped plastic sheet like things which help you to strike the strings. You probably know about this. Duh?

Spare Strings:
Always have them! They keep you moving ahead if something happens to your original strings. I have seen people just wait and wait to get their strings replaced as if it is a great god-damn process. That just puts a huge road block in their progress while learning. Small things go a long way!

An Amplifier:
Electric guitar amplifiers are built with speakers with some basic controls. Make sure that your amplifier has a line out, a headphone jack and a basic ability to mix in a Microphone and a Keyboard.
You can use the line out for recording the sound in your computer. Or connect it to another set up or a mixer.

A Guitar effect pedal:
Hmmm. Now we are getting sophisticated.
Effect pedals are not a necessity, but you electric guitar will probably sound like an acoustic guitar running on current if you don’t have an effect pedal. There are various effect pedals for distortion, fuzz, metal etc.
Just check out the Behringer Effect pedal series. You'll like 'em. Personally I like Behringer because they are reasonably priced lower than the others and they are pretty damn good too!

This one is self explanatory. That's how things are connected. You'll probably get cables along with your guitar and amplifiers, for the rest, you got to buy.

Adapters for 6.5 mm and 3.5 mm jacks
An adapter for conversion from a 6.5 to 3.5 mm jack and vice versa is necessary, the latter, if you are planning to connect ear phones to your amplifier line out; or the former, if you want to record your sound.

Software for recording Audio/Video:
You can use Audacity for recording only the audio, or any Video/Audio capturing software which records from your webcam and audio from amplifier simultaneously. I currently use Debut video capture software, the freeware version. That does the job for me.

A webcam for recording video:
Get a proper webcam, something which records in decent 720p minimum. A Logitech C 270 would be a good start. Now just because you own a webcam, don't record your sloppy moments. Get good and then start recording stuff. You'll like it that way.

If you play great, congrats, I might watch you play, power to you.

That is so far, a very basic set up. After this you'll continue to understand things in your own way. If you are not, you are not probably playing the guitar. Throw all the shit you bought outside the window.

So, that ought to do it, all the best.

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