July 13, 2024

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Frets Bridges and Hardware – What You Need To Know Before You Learn How To Play Notes On Guitar

3 min read
Frets Bridges and Hardware – What You Need To Know Before You Learn How To Play Notes On Guitar

I know you are anxious to learn how to play notes on guitar, but there are a few mechanical details that you need to learn so that you can make the guitar function properly.

  1. Frets are the raised strips of metal on the neck of your guitar. When used properly, frets shorten the length of the string. The shorter the string is, the higher it will play. In order to make a fret useful in this way, the fingertip is placed directly next to the fret on the side towards the tuning head. Do not place the finger directly on top of a fret. The fingertip is snug against the fret while the knuckles are pointed up and away from the fret. A firmness is needed to press down and will definitely cause some pain onto the uninitiated finger. Press firmly down and then lift off to look at your fingertip. If you see a solid line or crease run across the fingertip, then you have placed it correctly. If the line covers only a portion of the fingertip then you have missed the mark. Once you get the knack of placing the finger correctly, pluck the string that you are fretting and see if the tone is clear. Now you are ready to learn how to play notes on guitar. Learn to count frets. In the future, you will be hearing things like “put your finger on the 5th fret. There are usually dots placed on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th frets. These are guides to help you get there quickly. The 12th fret has two dots. The 12th fret is known for producing an octave. When a note is played on the 12th fret it will have the same name as the open string that it’s being played on.
  2. The bridge is where the strings are held tightly in place to the body of the guitar. When you learn how to put on a guitar string, you will see that the strings are threaded through a hole and slotted across a piece of metal that can have adjustments made by the turning of screws. The strings can be raised or lowered here by the slightest degree. If a string is lowered too far, it will start to “buzz out”. This will inhibit the string from vibrating and create a nasty buzzing sound. Do not fool around with the bridge. Learn from a professional how to put on guitar strings so you don’t knock anything out from the original setting…
  3. Tuning Hardware is something you can and must tinker with. There are six tuning pegs on the headstock that can tighten or loosen. The first big mistake is to turn too fast and too much. Tuning it can easily break a string if you tune it too high. Observe each peg and the way the string wraps around it. When you learn how to put on a guitar string, you are going to have to wrap it the same way. Find a peg and the string that’s attached to it. Practice plucking the string and then turn the peg just a little either way. You are not tuning it yet; you are just getting a feel for it. Now try to turn it back to where it was. Don’t forget to pluck it and listen to it first. Don’t just turn the peg without plucking the string first and listening.

Learning about the hardware of your guitar may get you to understand a little bit about how the guitar functions. Pay close attention to how the strings are wrapped around the tuning peg. Someday you will be required to learn how to put on guitar strings. Then you will need to tune it. Once you can tune, you will be ready to learn how to play notes on guitar.

Gene Petty

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