Adult Guitar Lessons

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An overview of the various types and styles of guitars and some of the key differences you shoud know about. Read More...

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A look at some of the modules and techniques used in the demo content on the frontpage of the HiveMind demo. Read More...

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An overview of how to customize your HiveMind in respects to the Internet Explorer PNGfix. Read More...

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Guitars, by  nature, are fairly resilient creatures, and with minimal care, should last many years. Like anything else, however, there are some maintenance items that you should be aware of such as cleaning, string changing, action adjustment, intonation and electronics.


The guitar should be cleaned on a regular basis to remove the natural build up of dirt, dust and grime from regular use.
care 1A soft, non-abrasive, cloth will normally do the trick in conjunction with a polish of some sort. There are a number of guitar cloths and polishes available at your local music store and many can be purchased in a cleaning "kit". In a pinch you can use a standard furniture polish with a clean, soft cloth from home.
care 2Clean all the surfaces of the body and headstock with the cloth and polish. I typically refrain from  using polish on the neck of the guitar because it has a tendency to "gunk" up which results in slowing down hand action when playing.

String Changing

Guitar strings will oxidize and corrode over time. Even when the guitar is in storage. As a result, they should be changed on a regular basis, although that time schedule will be different for everyone.

Many professional musicians will put a new set of strings on for every show. When I was touring, I never went on stage without a fresh set of strings. Now that I play mainly on weekends, I change strings only once every two weeks. If you are playing guitar at home and just picking it up every couple of days, you may want to consider changing strings once every month or so.
strings 1A new set of strings can "breath new life" into the guitar and make it sound better. Strings are not overly expensive so this is something that can a part of your regular maintenance routine without breaking the bank.

NOTE: If you are putting your guitar in long term storage it is recommended that you loosen the strings to reduce the stress on the neck.

Action Adjustment

The "action" of the guitar is the height of the strings off the plane of the neck. (see "Guitar Buyer's Guide") It is natural for the neck of the guitar to twist and bow slightly in response to changes in climate and temperature. This movement causes the action of the guitar to change and, subsequently, needs to be adjusted periodically.

Tweaking the action of the guitar requires adjustment of the truss rod in the neck in conjunction with adjustments to the bridge of the guitar. (see "Parts of the Guitar")
care 3The truss rod is adjusted using an Allen wrench or a wrench designed by the guitar manufacturer. Bridge adjustments differ between acoustic and electric guitars and vary by brand.

CAUTION: Improper truss rod adjustments can cause damage to the guitar. If you are unfamiliar with truss rod adjustment techniques it is recommended that you consult your local music store or a qualified luthier.


A guitar with proper intonation will remain in tune when playing notes and barre chords in higher positions on the neck. If your guitar is "in tune" in the open positions, but sounds out of tune when playing notes and chords higher up the fretboard, then your intonation needs adjustment. This is done at the bridge of the guitar (see "Parts of the Guitar") and will typically be adjusted at the same time that the action is set.

Again, it may be best in the beginning to consult your local music store or a qualified luthier.


Electric guitars, and also acoustics with built in pickups, will need occasional electronic maintenance. Volume and tone pots (potentiometers), and selector switches will collect dust over time and will start to sound "scratchy". They will need to be sprayed with a shot of "tuner" spray to clean them out. NOTE: Never spray WD40 or a similar lubricant into your electronics!!! That is asking for trouble.
electric guitar picAlso, input jacks and internal wiring should be checked occasionally for shorts and breaks. Many of these connections, when broken, can simply be re-soldered.

By taking a moment to give a little extra care to your guitar you will prolong its life by many years and also add to its re-sale value when you get ready to upgrade!

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

I am often asked about guitar strings, what brand to choose, what style to use and how often to change them. The answer is – there is not just one answer.
strings 1The type of strings you use will be largely determined by what kind of guitar you are playing. Acoustic guitars typically use “bronze wound” strings, electric guitars use “nickel wound” strings and classical guitars normally use “nylon” strings.

Guitar strings come in various sizes or thicknesses and are referred to by the gauge of thickness. They are packaged in sets of 6 for the whole guitar, or, can be purchased individually. A set of guitar strings that has a 1st string (high "E") gauge of .009 (9 thousandths of an inch) is commonly referred to as a set of "nines". A set that has a 1st string of .012 is known as a set of "twelves".

strings 2Which strings are right for you is largely a matter of trial and error, over time. Various brands of strings will all have a different “feel” to you and after you have been playing a while you will find string brands that you prefer over others.

Because of the fact that strings are mostly made of metal they are subject to the acidity in our bodies, (which is different for everybody) and that has an impact on the longevity of strings. A set of strings that lasts a month for one person may only last a week for another.

strings 3As a general rule you may want to consider using thinner gauge strings in the beginning, as these will be easier on your finger tips and cut down on some of the natural soreness.

In terms of changing your strings, this is also different for everyone. I know pro players that put a new set on before every show. When I was touring I always had a fresh set of strings on every night. Now that I only play on weekends it’s about once every other week. As a general rule, if you are just starting guitar lessons and playing casually, a fresh set of strings would be a good idea once every 30 days or so.
strings 4Recommended string sizes for the beginning student:

Acoustic Guitars - .011 to .012 gauge
Electric Guitars - .009 gauge
Classical Guitars – Light to Medium gauge

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Throughout the course of taking guitar lessons you will encounter a number of music "charts". A music chart is simply a way of notating a song or musical piece.

Music charts can include a music staff with various notations, a chord diagram (see "Reading Chord Diagrams"), and TAB (see "How to Read TAB").

It is important to note that reading a music chart does not require the ability to be able to "read" music. Just an understanding of basic music notation will be all you need to make full use of music charts.

The core of a music chart is the "staff". The staff consists of five horizontal lines separated by small vertical lines into measures. Each measure contains music notation information and the length of the measures is determined by the time signature of the song or piece. Much of popular music is written in a time signature known as 4/4 (four/four). This just means that there are 4 beats per measure, and every quarter note equals one beat.

Look at the staff below. This is an example of a basic 5 line staff. As you can see, it is separated into six measures.

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Look at the next chart below. In this example there are "forward slash" lines in the measures.These forward  slash lines each indicate a beat within that measure. In this case there are four beats per measure.

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In the next example below, the guitar strumming pattern has been added to the staff with the beats. The symbols that resemble an upside down "U", or a "staple", indicate a "down" stoke on the guitar. Conversely, the symbols that resemble a "V" indicate an "up stroke" on the guitar.

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On the next chart below, chord diagrams have been added. (see "Reading Chord Diagrams") In some cases the chords will be shown by "letter" name only, without the actual diagram.

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On the final example below, a TAB line has been added below the staff. (see "How to Read TAB")

chart 5 01

As you can see, a music chart is much less intimidating when all the separate parts are broken down and analyzed.

Keep in mind that you may see charts with all of these elements included, but you will also see charts  that use various combinations of these elements. It really just depends on the musical piece itself and the author or composer. Some charts can be very complicated, and others very basic.

Study up on these various elements of a music chart and you will be better prepared when you begin guitar lessons.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!