Bargain Hunting for Guitars, Guitar Lessons and Guitar Picking

The Homegrown Music columnist writes about every aspect of musical instruments and do-it-yourself entertainment. This issue covers bargain hunting, guitar lessons and guitar picking and jamming.

| July/August 1982

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    My friend Jeff Smith once showed me a fingerboard chart that indicates all the "live"or usable-fretted notes that can be put together for improvising blues breaks when you're playing in the key of E.

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Homegrown Music shares information on musical instruments and do-it-yourself entertainment, this issue covers bargain hunting, guitar lessons and guitar picking and jamming. 

Marc Bristol—a homegrown musician who performs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest—began sharing his knowledge of do-it-yourself entertainment with MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers back in MOTHER issue 50. Marc's columns have touched on everything from access information for recorded music to detailed instructions on how to make your own instruments. Marc is interested in hearing any suggestions, comments, or questions you may have about the subject of do-it-yourself music, and he'll try to write about requested topics in future columns. Address your correspondence—for this column and this column only—to Marc Bristol, Dept. TMEN, Duvall, Washington. 

Bargain Hunting for Guitars, Guitar Lessons and Guitar Picking

I can't say I'm surprised that my article in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 72, "Learning to Play the Guitar", produced more response from readers of this column than any other piece I've written for MOTHER . . . but I can say I'm mighty encouraged-and gratified-to know that so many of you want more information. So here, without further ado (aside from saying thanks, everybody, for all the kind comments and super suggestions . . . keep 'em coming!) are yet more helpful hints for folks who want to get down with the gitbox.


A number of people wrote to ask how much the quality of a guitar might affect a person's ability to learn to play. Well, better instruments are certainly more enjoyable to pick . . . and chances are a novice will learn more quickly if he or she happens to be having fun at the same time. But I hasten to add that it's not—repeat, not—necessary to pay a small fortune to get a good axe.

There's a virtual glut of used medium quality guitars on the market today-thanks to the popularity of the instrument over the past couple of decades-and as a result, prices have come down to the point where it's usually possible to find a good secondhand model (many are Japanese-made) for just over $100.

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