The Gift of a Guitar – A Gift That Keeps on Giving

What makes a musical instrument a great holiday gift?

What makes a better gift than something that is fun, educational, and lasts a lifetime? Music is often a visceral experience for most, and given the ability to recreate such powerful memories and feelings is a gift with few rivals. 

A musical instrument can be regarded as the conduit through which one can channel strong emotions, fond memories, and pure joy. Whether we’re playing songs that inspire triumph, songs that motivate us, songs from our childhood or even songs for our children, tapping into our creativity can have long lasting benefits well beyond even our present emotional state. 

What makes a guitar a special gift? 

guy holding his new guitarIn today’s world of modern, contemporary music, one instrument stands out above the rest as the most popular. The guitar can be heard in most popular music today, and it’s versatility uniquely positions it as a favorite among professionals and amateurs alike. 

From early blues, jazz, and rock n’ roll, to classic rock, R&B, country, easy listening, pop, and hip-hop, the guitar is a solid centerpiece of most bands. Chances are good that the recipient’s favorite music has guitar as a major focal point. Even further, songs without guitar can still be played with the guitar! The versatility lends itself to virtually any style, and can act as a rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment device – think “rhythm guitar” – or drive the melodic figure – think “lead guitar”. There is plenty there for any gift recipient to chew on, with more than enough material to play that will last a lifetime.

Playing the guitar can bring back so many memories, reconnect you with other friends or family members who also play guitar, and even help you get in touch with an artist side that may be hidden out of sight.

What should I know about my new guitar? 

image listing the common parts of a guitarThere are many different kinds of guitars, with distinct differences that may lend themselves to specific stylistic tendencies. Typical acoustic guitars are typically made of wood, are hollow on the inside, and have thick steel strings. Classical guitars, which could be characterized as a subgenre of acoustic guitars, are a bit smaller, have wider necks, and use nylon or gut strings. Electric guitars can be solid bodied or semi-hollow, use thinner steel strings, and require amplification for their powerful sound. 

It’s important to know the parts and pieces of the instrument before getting started. Any person new to the instrument will do themselves a favor to learn the anatomy of the guitar and how it all works together to produce that amazing and unmistakable sound. If this is your first guitar, take the time to familiarize yourself with the headstock, tuning pegs, nut, neck, frets, strings, body, sound holes (if any), bridge, tailpiece, and electronics (if any). 

Tuning the guitar is a critical step before playing it, so each and every note can sound harmonious with the next. In order to best tune the instrument, it may be worth investing a few dollars into an electronic tuner, or downloading a tuning app on your smartphone. If it’s an electric guitar, it’s very important to understand how to work the electronics, connect to the amplifier, and dial in the desired sound. And in addition, learning how to care for the instrument is a big step in making sure it maintains optimum playability and sounds its best. 

How do I take care of my new guitar? 

Taking care of a new guitar is easy and fun! Understanding best practices will keep it in good shape and extend the life of the instrument. Without proper care, the wood may become damaged or warped, the metal may tarnish or parts can break that will ultimately render it unplayable.

young boy playing the guitarRemember to avoid extreme temperatures. Guitar will not do well in extreme cold or extreme heat. Further, rapid oscillation between hot and cold can also damage the instrument. Guitars are made of wood, and because of this, can be very sensitive to temperature changes. Aim to keep the guitar in an area with a stable temperature and around 45% humidity. When not being played, keep the guitar in its case. 

Before playing the guitar, make sure your hands are clean, and afterward, wipe down the guitar with a clean, dry cloth. It’s a very good idea to replace the strings at the first sign of tarnish or deadening. From time to time, the fingerboard may require moisture to prevent cracking or warping. Consider purchasing a guitar cleaning kit with all the necessary items to care for your guitar. A technician can perform a set up of the guitar, which would include oiling the fingerboard, changing the strings, and optimizing the intonation. 

Always keep an extra set of guitar strings in case one breaks. It’s common for strings from time to time. Restringing your guitar is important to make sure the neck of the guitar maintains its proper curvature. 

What do I do with my new guitar? 

If you have been gifted a guitar, congratulations! A guitar holiday gift is one of the most thoughtful gifts one can give. To get started, unpack all the parts and pieces to familiarize yourself with them all. Take the time to understand what it means to tune and string the instrument properly, as well as steps to care for the instrument. 

Is it hard to learn to play guitar? Should I take lessons? 

young female guitar player throwing up the rock on gesture Learning guitar is not complicated, but it does take time and requires patience and repetition. Music is like learning a language and an instrument can be considered the dialect. Lessons will undoubtedly make learning the guitar easy and more fun, and accelerate your learning curve. Looking to play songs quickly? Lessons will help you cut out the excess and unnecessary information to help you get exactly what you need to play what you want. While you may find numerous videos online that say they can help you learn, it’s important to realize that this method doesn’t allow you to ask questions or get direct feedback from the instructor. In many cases the DIY approach to learning a musical instrument, and guitar specifically, can be more problematic than helpful for people new to the instrument. It’s easy to develop bad habits without even realizing it, which will ultimately result in a poor experience and possibly even regression. It’s no question that working with a private instructor is the best choice when learning a new instrument. 

Each instrument will have its special elements, colloquial sayings, and nuances that make it unique. But the best part, music lessons are an experience that keeps on giving. They are not only fun, but boost mindfulness, promote happiness, and foster creativity. 

And not only that, but music lessons have been shown to improve listening skills, intelligence, and even school or work performance. Who wouldn’t want that? While a guitar makes an incredible holiday gift, guitar lessons make an accompanying gift that is too good to pass up!

With Forbes Music, give someone the gift that lasts a lifetime. We offer discounted lesson packages, customizable gift certificates, and a plethora of class options for any type of musician. Our award-winning, talented instructors are dedicated to making a lesson plan catered to a student’s exact needs, which is why we offer both private and group lessons online.

With deals that include free registration and discounted quarterly and annual subscriptions, there are options for any budget. Everyone needs their creative outlet, and with Forbes Music Company, they can get it.

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