Acoustic Guitar Community

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Acoustic Newb

A network of beginning acoustic guitar students for sharing discussion, encouragement, ideas, resources, and support as we begin the journey.

Members: 456
Latest Activity: Feb 17

Discussion Forum

New Book by Walt Pilcher 6 Replies

Started by Walt Pilcher. Last reply by Walt Pilcher Jan 4.

guitar antomy video lesson

Started by David Mitchell Mar 29, 2015.

Cleaning your guitat 8 Replies

Started by David Mitchell. Last reply by David Mitchell Jan 25, 2015.

Looking for new songs to play? 2 Replies

Started by Terry Angelli. Last reply by Terry Angelli Jan 17, 2015.

Turn the table. 4 Replies

Started by Terry Angelli. Last reply by Terry Angelli Jan 14, 2015.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Walt Pilcher on April 20, 2012 at 10:03pm

Welcome to the group, Stan.  And thanks to Arlie for inviting you.  You are doing a good thing by hosting a monthly session.  I've certainly gained a lot from the weekly music circle hosted by Vance Archer, a talented acoustic string musician here in Greensboro, NC, so I appreciate how important it is.  Like yours, everybody's welcome.  Vance says, "If you show up twice, you're automatically in the band."  And that was true for me even before I could play more than one chord per song.

Comment by Stan Attenberger on April 20, 2012 at 9:31pm

Thanks, Arlie, for inviting me to join this discussion. The monthly Songwriter GuitarBQ is at my house, but it wasn't my idea.  My friend Scott Murray Bate was involved in a similar thing in Nashville, TN, and he was looking for someone to host it.  Peggy and I are delighted to be able to do it.  It has inspired my songwriting and I always pick up guitar playing ideas from people like Arlie.  You probably need somebody like Scott that really promotes the event and keeps bringing newcomers.  We enjoy having all skill levels, but I think that part of our success is due to having some really good songwriter/players that keep showing up.  They enjoy visiting with each other and eating the wonderful food that everybody brings.  And they inspire the rest of us and keep the NewBs coming back.  We don't ever tell anybody that they are not welcome.  We were afraid that throngs of people would show up to see free entertainment, but it hasn't been like that.  It's been going on for a year, and we continue to get a good mix of people.

Comment by TheValleyGirl on April 12, 2012 at 6:33am

I'd say a couple of each :)

Comment by Walt Pilcher on April 12, 2012 at 6:16am

Welcome to the group, Aubrey Brawley of Waterloo, Ontario.  We hope you will enjoy the group.  All 400+ of us have benefitted from it whether new players or veterans.

Comment by Edward Sparks on April 9, 2012 at 7:35am

For those of you who do not get these emails from Acoustic Guitar...

April 6, 2012

Guitar Shopping: Acoustic vs. Acoustic-Electric

Q: What should I consider in choosing between a straight acoustic, and an acoustic-electric?
A: In recent years, amplification systems for acoustic guitars have gone from being an option to being practically standard equipment. In many cases, manufacturers have simply added pickups to their existing acoustic models, and the acoustic properties of the instruments are not affected by the retrofitting. But many other instruments are designed from the ground up with amplification in mind, and they strike a compromise between acoustic and electric sound: they tend to be thinner bodied and have less unplugged volume, but they can sound great plugged in and be more trouble-free onstage.

So your choice really hinges on whether the acoustic or amplified sound is more important to you. What do you see yourself doing with this instrument, now and down the road? Margie Mirken of Shade Tree Stringed Instruments says that from her perspective “the most important things are tone and playability, so a pickup system takes a backseat. If a student thinks it's fun to plug in and make a big sound even before he or she is ready to get a gig, so much the better. Have a blast. But I also see people who've bought a really bad guitar (bad tone, back neck angle, bad frets, horrible playability) with a pickup system, and it's apparent that the manufacturer put all the money into the electronics. The student is really loud but sounds terrible.”

In the end, you are buying a guitar first and a pickup system second, and you need to make sure the guitar is a good one that you can grow with. Keep in mind that pickup systems can be very easily and inexpensively added to acoustic instruments, so if you are not sure you want or need to plug in, you should get the best straight acoustic you can and see how your interests develop over time. Also remember that amplification technology is changing constantly. Acoustic-electric guitars with built-in pickup systems, especially those with control panels cut into the side of the instruments, commit you to the current technology, so you may be better off with a system that can be added, removed, and upgraded as your needs change.

Comment by Walt Pilcher on April 5, 2012 at 5:15am

David Brockman, welcome to the group.  I see you've been playing for awhile.  We love having more experienced players such as yourself because we all learn from each other.  Hope you enjoy the group.

Comment by Walt Pilcher on April 1, 2012 at 1:06pm

Welcome to the group, Julie Clark!  Hope you will find it fun.  I see you have a Taylor 410.  I'm sure you like it as much as I like my 210e. 

Comment by Seamus1967 on March 18, 2012 at 5:21pm

Thanks Walt!

Comment by Walt Pilcher on March 17, 2012 at 9:41am

Welcome, new member Seamus1967 from Wales, UK.  Hope you will enjoy the group!

Comment by Walt Pilcher on March 14, 2012 at 7:03am

Good stuff, Arlie!  These kinds of events are fun and can be very helpful especially to newer players when the atmosphere is as welcoming as the one you describe.

I encourage newer players to try to find groups like this because it has been so helpful to me to be in a weekly Thursday evening acoustic music circle that meets at Vance Archer's house here in Greensboro, NC.

As I've posted before, being in such a group has really helped me, and I encourage anyone, even a rank beginner, to try to find one even if you don't feel you could contribute. You'd be surprised, and you'll learn a lot! I was fortunate to be invited to this music circle (because I had written a song they offered to help me with) before I even started to learn guitar. Vance lent me one of his guitars while I shopped for one of my own, but I actually went to the circle for the first few months without the guitar while I was taking lessons -- I just played the spoons and sang! Then when I started bringing the guitar it was like a door opened. Incredibly, the core group, a band called Bishop's Bridge who are all acccomplished players, let me play at some of their gigs even though all I could do at that time was position myself in the rear, see which chord was the prevalent one in each song and then just play that chord when it came around! I've progressed since then, of course, but I will always be grateful for that experience and encouragement.

The circle has been in existence long enough to have a large "library" of songs, with music, lyrics and chords, plus we all introduce new stuff frequently, whether it's an original composition or just something we've heard that we like. Each of us keeps a large 3-ring binder full of the songs. Vance is an accomplished fiddle player (as well as guitar and several other instruments), and he generously conducts a fiddle workshop for new fiddlers for a half hour before the regular circle begins.

Vance also leads a monthly "hootenany" that meets at different peoples' homes in the area and is mostly for people from his church although anyone is invited. The musicians who want to participate do so and the non-musicians sing and have a lot of fun. I've only been to a couple of those.

If you can't find a group, maybe you could start one. You could start by entering your city in the search box in the upper right of this page and see who comes up. If enough come up (try other cities in close proximity as well), then contact them or put a general announcement out in the AG Community that you are interested in starting or finding a music circle in your area, and see what develops.  Or Google for music associations in your area, such as High Lonesome Strings in my area of NC, and see what you can find.


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