What are the 2 things you wish you knew back then, about starting out?
Just have fun, and practice more!
What should I know before I start writing songs?
Same thing as the previous question – just have fun and practice more. It really helps to know how to read music. However, Jimi Hendrix didn’t. And Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam said their first album was based on what sounded cool…
Ok, I learned guitar on acoustic and my fingers are KILLING me. Now I am ready to rock, what kind of guitar is friendly to a beginner?
A Fender Squire strat is an excellent buy. It looks very cool, sounds good, and it indestructible like a regular Strat… but it’s only $100.
Bass guitar is a good skill to learn, and here is why. Everyone learns guitar, not so much bass. So, if you become a good bass player, you will never be out of work. however, I think Bass requires more musical knowledge to get by. As a bass player (and more so than guitar) someone will say to you “12 bar blues in G… GO” and that has to make sense to you.
Here is another interesting thing about Bass. The four strings of a bass are the same notes as the top for strings on guitar, just much thicker. So, most guitars (like myself) can also play a passable bass. The downside is this, your bass isn’t much use to take camping and play by the fire. Guitar wins that every time.
Do I have to store my guitar in the case, and with the humidifier?
No to the case, but yes to the humidifier. Mind you, this only works with an acoustic. I don’t know a way to humidify an electric guitar individually like you can with an acoustic, but they are generally coated head to toe in paint and finish so there isn’t much exposed wood. However, they DO need humidity as well. I keep my guitars in the basement with a humidifier. Generally speaking, you would like about 40 to 50% humidity where your guitars live, especially acoustics. So, take steps to create that environment if possible.
Back to the case question. I do not recommend storing a guitar on a stand on the floor. Too easy to damage, and an electric guitar can absolutely snap in half if it falls wrong. Mine did! Now, I keep them all hanging on the walls on a guitar hanger. This serves many purposes: you get to look at the guitar, and I think they are art. Plus, it keeps them off the ground away from dogs, kids, cats, and potential flooding.
I have this super old looking guitar with 3 rusty strings on it from probably 30 years ago. Can I use that to play and learn on it? Or, do I need to buy a new guitar?
That is a perfect guitar to learn on. If you can, hand it off to an experienced guitar playing friend to clean it up, string it up, and tune it. If not, start yourself. Strings run no more than about $10, and you are off to the races. One of the most iconic rock guitars of all time, Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Frankenstein’ started this way. The body isn’t even a strat. It was pieced together over the years with what he could find and build. Pull up a pic on google and you will see, it is not a pretty guitar. If my grandmother found that guitar cleaning the basement, she would think it is junk and throw it out.
For some similar fun, google Willie Nelson’s ‘Trigger’ guitar. To me, it is the most important guitar on Earth, and it looks like it is worth about $7. So, don’t be distracted. Every guitar player has a story about their first guitar, and it is never a pretty story.
Send us your questions! Like Playboy adviser, all serious questions will be answered, though maybe not in print. Send your questions to [email protected] with ‘Ask Lono’ in the subject line. OR… even easier. Add them below in the comments section. If I don’t know the answer (and that is SUPER possible), I’ll find someone who does!
Kevin ‘Lono’ Lang lives on a small ranch just outside Denver, CO with wife and dogs and horses. He has been playing for 25 years. He actively plays both guitar and bass in Denver rock band ‘ClownFight’.