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Get the Guitar Music Sound You Want

By: Pat Newsome

If your fussy about your guitar playing, you know what you want in the way of tone.  But maybe you haven't found that magic combination of instrument, strings, picks, style and other factors to make that sound your own.  There are some measures you can take to get your tone closer to what you desire.

A good, cheap place to start is to try using different types of picks.  Picks are ranked according to thickness they are in millimeters.  Thin picks tend to have a brighter sound while heavy picks make a darker sound.  Dark is usually preferred for jazz, while brighter sounds are used in country and bluegrass type sounds. 

Pick thickness is very much an individual matter.  Too thin and some guitarists will simply break the pick!  Too thick, and some will feel like the pick slows them down.  Quality matters, too.  Poorly constructed picks sometimes are rough around the edges, with little strands of plastic hanging off.  A good pick will be smooth around the edges.

The next factor to alter on your guitar when seeking that perfect musical tone is the type of strings you use.  Lighter weight strings have a totally different sound than heavier ones, and the material the strings are made of make a difference, too.  Bronze strings are very popular.  They are often called 80/20 strings because they are made of 80 percent copper and 20 percent either tin or zinc.  They have a crisp bright sound when new.  There are also 85/15 strings on the market.

A second popular type of string material is phosphor bronze which has phosphorus added to the metal alloy.  This is reported to make the sound darker and warmer, while also increasing the longevity of the strings.  This is the most common type of string put on guitars from the factory.

Another type of string uses silk in the combination, with the fiber wound around the metal core with steel or bronze used to wrap the string.  These have a folksy quality, being quieter and easier on the fingers.  Other strings are being made that have a thin flexible coating on the outside, which also tends to tone down the brightness.

Regardless of how perfect you have your guitar set up, it will not make you sound like you want to sound if you have not done your part to learn the skills you need.  Simply having the strength you need in your chording hand will make a big difference in the quality of the guitar music you make.  The most important aspect of great sound is taking the time to practice what you know and learn new skills.  These skills can often be introduced to you by an article or free lesson available on the Internet.




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