Pocket Symphony Life Trends Perfectly Arranged In Harmony

Category Archives: Music

Top Best 10 Pop Songs of All Time (As of 2015)

Creating a top 10 songs list in pop music is purely subjective. It should include influential tunes that have withstood the test of time. These are some of the most popular and best songs (in our opinion) in modern pop culture.

Imagine (1971) – John Lennon

The song envisions a place and time where there’s nothing to divide people. What’s not to like about that? Various cover versions have charted on the Hot 100 as well, and the song is often sung on televised singing competitions.

I Will Always Love You (1992) – Whitney Houston

Originally a country hit for Dolly Pardon, the reworked version was #1 in the U.S. for 14 weeks. The song is featured on The Bodyguard soundtrack and it charted as a single again on Billboard after Whiten Houston’s death. It was only the fifth song to ever be a top 10 hit two different times. The song was also featured on Glee.

Don’t Turn Around (1993) – Ace of Base

Ace of Base is near the top of the list of the most popular Swedish musical groups of all time. And few of their songs are more well-loved than the classic “Don’t Turn Around.” Since its release in 1993, it has been covered by a wide variety of artists.

Superstition (1973) – Stevie Wonder

Originally intended for Jeff Beck, this song pokes at the dangers of believing in superstitions. It has been covered by many artists and was featured in a 2013 Super Bowl commercial. The song has had a tremendous influence on pop culture.

Wannabe (1997) – Spice Girls

The U.K. quintet’s most iconic song, “Wannabe” helped the Spice Girls cement their takeover of U.S. pop music. Written and recorded in 1997, it quickly jumped to the top of the Hot 100 chart where it stayed for four consecutive weeks.

Respect (1967) – Aretha Franklin

Written and recorded by Otis Redding in 1965, Respect was rearranged by Aretha who added several parts. The song has been featured in many movies and covered many times. Aretha sang it in the movie Blues Brothers 2000.

Oops!…I Did It Again (2000) – Britney Spears

When it comes to the more modern era of pop music, it’s hard to leave Britney Spears out of the picture. Few songs exemplify the so-called “Princess of Pop” more than the classic “Oops!…I Did It Again.” Released in 2000, the song remains one of the most remembered pop hits of the decade.

Billie Jean (1983) – Michael Jackson

What became this Grammy-winning song was recorded on Jackson’s home drum machine, according to Rolling Stone magazine. It was the second of seven hits from Thriller. Notable covers include that of David Cook in 2008.

Born to Run (1975) – Bruce Springsteen

After hearing a live version, Jon Landau wrote, “I saw rock and roll’s future – and its name is Bruce Springsteen”. An unsuccessful movement tried to make it New Jersey’s official state song. It was reworked as “Born to Add” for Sesame Street and referenced in The Sopranos. In 2013, Springsteen and talk show host Jimmy Fallon reworked it to protest the closing of a traffic ramp to the George Washington Bridge.

Eye of the Tiger (1982) – Survivor

The 1980s were a great decade for pop music. So many hits stemmed from this time period. But few are more memorable than “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. It remains a classic to this day.

We sure hope you agree with this list. There are so many songs you could consider a favorite. These are certainly great pop songs worthy of being in the top 10.

Top 10 Best Rap Songs of All Time (As of 2015)

Rap emerged in mainstream pop in the 1970s, although its roots go back much farther. The genre covers a lot of ground. In this top 10, rap songs from different stages in its modern era of development are represented. Here are our favorite rap songs of all time as of 2015. Let us know what you think of the song list in the comments.

Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
LL Cool J

Any reference to violence is purely metaphorical. The song is about being on top of the game as a rap singer. It won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and LL Cool J was the first rapper to be on MTV’s Unplugged.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Theme Song (1990)
Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff

The duo won a Grammy for “Parents Just Don’t Understand” in 1989 and had other notables but this mainstream song is worth mentioning. The opener to the early 90’s sit-com of the same name is among the most popular TV theme songs. It also marked just the beginning of Will Smith’s acting career.

Lose Yourself (2002)

Featured in the movie 8 Mile, the song beat out U2 and Paul Simon for an Oscar and is the most commercially successful Oscar winning song. It topped the Hot 100 for 12 weeks. Guitar power chords and a heavy production make it stand out as well.

Fight the Power (1989)
Public Enemy

With its messages of black pride and empowerment, the song was somewhat controversial yet it endures as a statement on young black sentiment at the time.

Juicy (1994)
Notorious B.I.G.

A song about the artist’s beginnings, it was Notorious B.I.G.’s first solo hit. It was also part of the 8 Mile soundtrack.

Can’t Touch This (1990)
MC Hammer

The music is based on “Super Freak”, by Rick James, who got co-writing credits in a settlement. In 1990, the song won two Grammy Awards. It was also parodied by Weird Al Yankovic and featured in the movie Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle.

C.R.E.A.M. (1993)
Wu-Tang Clan

The title is short for Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Many rappers have cited the song as an influence. It was certified gold in 2009 and charted on the Hot Rap Singles and R&B charts.

Get Ur Freak On (2001)
Missy Elliot

A collaboration with Hype Williams, the song can have many different meanings, according to Elliot. It was also featured in 2015 during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime Show and actually appeared on the Hot 100 once again following the performance.

Rapper’s Delight (1979)
Sugarhill Gang

The first Top 40 rap song in the U.S. It was used on many TV shows, featured in The Wedding Singer in 1998, and was used in a 2001 commercial for Dasani water.

The Message (1982)
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

The song is more of a social commentary and cultural documentary than a Hip Hop hit. It’s often thought the song changed the tone and direction of rap. Rolling Stone named it the Greatest Hip-Hop Song of All Time in 2012.

From the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash to Will Smith, to Eminem, this list reflects distinct periods in rap music. Your favorite songs might be different. Our approach has been to identify songs that reflect the evolution of rap in modern pop music.

Top 10 Best Notorious BIG Songs of All Time

Brooklyn’s Notorious BIG is one of the most dynamic and prolific rappers of all time. With that said, it is incredibly difficult to narrow down his work to a handful of best tracks. But that is exactly what we did below. We bring you the top 10 best Notorious BIG songs of all time.

1. Kick in the Door

“Kick in the Door” is an “eff you” track if there ever was one. Aimed at no one in particular, the beauty of the song is that it is also aimed at everyone in the world.

2. Big Poppa

One of Biggie’s most well known songs, “Big Poppa” highlights the rapper’s romantic and sensual side. Despite being something of a love song, it is also one of the most popular party songs of all time.

3. Get Money

Released by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (a group consisting of Biggie and his close friends), “Get Money” is one of the most popular Notorious B.I.G. songs. It’s the one time that the rapper went head-to-head with Lil’ Kim on the same track.

4. Warning

“Warning” is a solid Biggie song no matter how you look at it. It highlights the rapper at his artistic peak, especially as far as his “show not tell” method of writing lyrics goes.

5. I Got a Story to Tell

“I Got a Story to Tell” is one of the best examples of the funny side of Notorious B.I.G. The humorous song recounts a wild tryst with a New York Knicks’ girlfriend.

6. Sky’s the Limit

Among his most uplifting tracks, “Sky’s the Limit” is classic Biggie in every sense of the word. It’s a declaration of freedom and is filled with autobiographical notes from his life.

7. What’s Beef?

Another warning song, “What’s Beef?” is a signal to Notorious B.I.G.’s competitors to steer clear of him. In addition to the hard-hitting lyrics, the insidious cackles the rapper emits during the track add a new level of terror.

8. Suicidal Thoughts

Notorious B.I.G. was not just a rapper. No, he was far more than that. He was a storyteller as well. And nowhere is his power to tell a great story more evident than in “Suicidal Thoughts.”

9. The World is Filled

Too often overlooked, “The World is Filled” is a Notorious B.I.G. song that more people need to take a listen to. The deep cut boasts about the artist’s own sexual prowess.

10. Brooklyn’s Finest

Though it’s not exactly one of Big’s songs, “Brooklyn’s Finest” by Jay Z nevertheless features a fire Biggie verse. Indeed, it’s one of the rappers best verses of all time.

So there you have it – 10 of the best Notorious B.I.G. songs of all time. What do you think? Did your favorite song make the cut? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 10 Best Eminem Songs of All Time (As of 2015)

Love him or hate him, it’s hard not to admit that Eminem is great at what he does. In fact, his musical career has changed the landscape of hip-hop as we know it. Below are our choices for the top 10 best Eminem songs of all time.

1. Stan

It really doesn’t get any better than “Stan.” It’s a simple, slow-paced song that gets straight to the point. Chronicling the life of a diehard fan turned stalker, it is a far cry from the Slim Shady days of Eminem’s early career.

2. Lose Yourself

The lead single from the autobiographical film 8 Mile, “Lose Yourself” is another classic Eminem song that most people are at least somewhat familiar with. With a big chorus, a great hook, and loads of positivity, the track is one of the best hip-hop songs about self-motivation that there is.

3. The Way I Am

“The Way I Am” is classic Eminem. Though the entire song including the beat with eerie piano and funeral bells is a masterpiece, it is the rapper’s barking, masculine vocals that really make it stand out.

4. Guilty Conscience

Perhaps the first truly significant song he ever wrote, “Guilty Conscience” puts Eminem’s Slim Shady character and the character of Dr. Dre head to head. It is considered the quintessential Slim Shady track by many people.

5. Renegade

“Renegade” is a song that truly highlights the skill and stardom of Eminem. Written and performed by Jay-Z, Em takes the spotlight despite only rapping a single guest verse.

6. Kill You

From the early days of Eminem’s career comes “Kill You.” The provocative song is meant to be humorous although it can be hard to tell that sometimes from the hard-hitting vocals and the increased sense of mania that creeps into the rapper’s delivery as the song progresses.

7. Kim

Nowhere are Eminem’s skills as a rapper, storyteller, and artist more apparent than in his song “Kim.” Yet it is also one of his most terrifying tracks. The near hysterical mania in his delivery really hits a breaking point in the last few lines of this dark, unhinged song.

8. Forgot About Dre

“Forgot About Dre” is another song in which Eminem comes in as a guest and leaves with the song all his own. This time he does it on the heels of Dr. Dre. In many ways, Eminem’s appearance on the track was his introduction to the musical world at large.

9. Cleanin’ Out My Closet

“Cleanin’ Out My Closet” perfectly highlights the artistic formula Eminem built his career on. It’s a straightforward, hooky, self-referential track that has Em throwing crass accusations at several people in his life including his mother and his ex-wife Kim.

10. White America

Much less political than its title makes it out to be, “White America” is nevertheless another great song by Eminem. It’s a dripping, sarcastic track that takes shot at many different things including consumerism, censors, his fans, and even himself.

So there you have it – 10 of the best Eminem songs of all time. Which other songs do you think should have made the list?

Top 10 Best Tupac Songs of All Time

Tupac Amaru Shakur is one of the greatest rap artists of all time. In just 25 years of life, he recorded more songs than almost anyone else on earth. With that said, it’s hard to weed through his extensive catalog to select the very best of his songs. Below is our idea of the top 10 Tupac songs of all time.

1. Keep Ya Head Up

“Keep Ya Head Up” is among the most meaningful and profound of Tupac’s many songs. It’s inspirational message reminds people to keep their heads up and keep fighting.

2. Hit Em Up

Beef tracks have long held an important place in rap history. But few are as fiery as “Hit Em Up.” In the track, Tupac calls out Biggie and Mobb Deep among others.

3. I Ain’t Mad at Cha’

Tupac is more than a rapper. He is also a cult figure and an urban legend. The release of “I Ain’t Mad at Cha’” just after the artist’s death helped him achieve this status. Even more cryptic is that the song is about Tupac making peace with his life up to that point.

4. Dear Mama

As its name implies, “Dear Mama” is a track dedicated to Tupac’s mother. The song shows what an important figure she was in his life.

5. California Love

One of the best party rap songs of all time, “California Love” is still a go-to on dance floors across the nation. It is a west coast tune in every sense.

6. Hail Mary

While “Hail Mary” is one of the best Tupac songs of all time, it is also one of the most mysterious. It was written a mere seven days before the rapper’s death. It was also created and released under the adopted title “Makaveli.”

7. Brenda’s Got a Baby

Most of Tupac’s songs don’t stray into the realm of social commentary. But “Brenda’s Got a Baby” does. It addresses domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and other acts of domestic violence.

8. I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto

From the very beginning, Tupac was a haunted man. He spent a lot of his time pondering his eventual demise. And nowhere in his recorded work is this more evident than in “I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto.”

9. I Get Around

There were many different sides to Tupac. One side that often took the backseat to his social commentary and politics was his womanizing side. “I Get Around” is a testament to Pac’s love for the ladies.

10. Changes

“Changes” is a particularly poignant song as Tupac muses on the changes happening around him in the world. The track is also one of the artist’s most popular. If you’ve heard only one Tupac song before, there is a good chance it is this one.

Here is our opinion of the top 10 best Tupac songs of all time. Did we leave your favorite off the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 10 Best George Strait Songs of All Time

George Strait has one of the largest hit song catalog of any artist and has old over 100 million albums worldwide. With 60 number one hits and counting, the success extends beyond country music. He’s one of the best-selling recording artists in the U.S. and here is a list of arguably the best George Strait songs.

Check Yes or No (1995)

The song narrates the history of a romance that extends back to childhood. Its message is hopeful and the sound is sweet. In 1996, it was named CMA Single of the Year.

Amarillo by Morning (1982)

Many consider this Strait’s most famous song, but was never #1. The rodeo ballad talks about being immersed in life on the road and the loss of love during the narrator’s travels.

Write this Down (1999)

A love song from “Always Never the Same”, this timeless song delivers its message differently than others that cover the topic.

Love’s Gonna Make It Alright (2011)

This appears on “Here for a Good Time”, George Strait’s 26th studio album. It’s a promise to a girl to be there through hard times. Written by Al Anderson and Chris Stapleton just for Strait, the song was a #3 hit in the U.S.

Fool Hearted Memory (1982)

The first #1 Country single for Strait, this song was part of The Soldier soundtrack in 1982. It was also recognized by ASCAP as the most played country song that year.

Ocean Front Property (1987)

Written by Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, and Royce Porter, this song says the narrator won’t miss the girl he’s breaking up with. It goes on to say that’s as impossible as finding ocean front property in Arizona, a state that is land locked.

Baby Blue (1988)

This Aaron Barker song was included on the album “If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin” and a hit in the U.S. A blue-eyed girl is in the narrator’s life for a short time. It was rumored Strait sang it for his daughter who was killed in a car accident.

Troubadour (2008)

The song was the title track of the album and Strait’s 86th chart single. A heartfelt ballad, it reflects how content the narrator is with his accomplishments as a troubadour.

I Cross My Heart (1992)

This was yet another number one hit for Strait. It was also part of the “Pure Country” soundtrack. The song was also the first single to the album of the same title. To this day, it’s a staple song to play at weddings.

All My Exes Live in Texas (1987)

Included on “Ocean Front Property”, the song was written by Sanger D. Shafer and Linda J. Shafer. The narrator’s four ex-girlfriends live throughout Texas. He’s in Tennessee and they’re apparently curious about his whereabouts.

These are well-known George Strait songs. Undoubtedly there are many more, including chart-topping smash hits written by himself and some of Nashville’s top songwriters. The list here represents just a few goodies from throughout Strait’s successful career.

Top 10 Best Country Songs of All Time (As of 2015)

Now here’s a particularly tough category. Country music has given rise to some of the most successful songwriters and artists. Here are a few contenders for this top 10 from throughout the decades.

Ring of Fire (1963)
Johnny Cash

The song was written by June Carter, along with Merle Kilgore, about Cash’s drug addiction. To many it represents the power of love. It has persisted over the years and has been covered by many artists, including The Animals in 1968.

The Dance (1989)
Garth Brooks

Brooks himself has said it could signify the end of a relationship or be about someone dying in a moment of glory. It’s often considered the singer’s signature song. This was the Academy of Country Music’s 1990 Song of the Year and Video of the Year.

I Will Always Love You (1974)
Dolly Parton

A single from Dolly’s “Jolene” album, the song resulted in her winning CMA Female Vocalist in 1975. She also re-recorded it in 1982 for the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Whitney Houston’s version was featured in The Bodyguard and charted again after her death in 2012.

Always on My Mind (1982)
Willy Nelson

It was the first country song to win a Grammy for Song of the Year. Originally recorded in 1971 by Brenda Lee, it was also recorded by Elvis Presely in 1972 and The Pet Shop Boys. The song tells a story of a man who didn’t always show his woman appreciation, but thought about her a lot.

The Gambler (1978)
Kenny Rogers

About handling life’s challenges rather than a poker game, this award-winning song written by Don Schlitz was used in The Muppet Show in 1979. It charted in the UK in 2007 during the Rugby World Cup and was part of a Geico commercial in 2014.

Stand by Your Man (1968)
Tammy Wynette

The singer’s signature tune, this is one of the most covered country songs. Wynette said she and Billy Sherrill wrote the song in 15 minutes. She often found herself defending its meaning which is still questioned, yet this hasn’t made the song any less impactful.

Crazy (1961)
Patsy Cline

Written by a then unknown Willie Nelson, this song has been covered by male and female artists including LeAnn Rhymes and Diana Krall. It was also on Nelson’s first album in 1962.

I Hope You Dance (2000)
Lee Ann Womack

About taking chances, this song was written by Tia Sillers and Mark Sanders. It topped the country and adult contemporary charts and won a Grammy and Country Music Award.

Jolene (1974)
Dolly Parton

From Reba McEntire to 10,000 Maniacs, this song has been covered by many. Parton said the song was inspired by meeting a fan. In 2014, the song entered the Grammy Hall of Fame.

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (2003)
Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

It’s hard not to include something recent. Country continues to dominate the charts; plus Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett are a great team. Aren’t we all waiting for that moment to kick up our shoes and relax?

Thus concludes a fulfilling top 10 country songs of all time. There are for sure others you might include. These are undoubtedly popular and influential selections you’re bound to hear for decades to come.

Top 10 Best Luke Bryan Songs of All Time

Luke Bryan is one of the most popular country musicians of all time. Yet the singer’s music doesn’t follow the same old formula most of the genre does. Instead, it’s very diverse and features well-written lyrics. Below are the top 10 best Luke Bryan songs of all time.

1. Drunk on You

It doesn’t get much better than “Drunk on You” when it comes to Luke Bryan songs. The hit song with an amazingly strong vocal performance is the epitome of what the singer is all about.

2. I Don’t Want This Night to End

An up-tempo track about fleeting love, “I Don’t Want This Night to End” is a near ready-made hit. Soon after its release, it rose to the top of the country music charts and remains one of Bryan’s greatest hits.

3. Crash My Party

Luke Bryan is one of those singers that write the vast majority of their songs. However, “Crash My Party” is one song that he didn’t write. That doesn’t mean it isn’t great though. Bryan comes through with near perfect vocals that help drive the melody home.

4. Do I

A collaboration song with Lady Antebellum, “Do I” is quintessential Luke Bryan. It breaks down the story of a couple that are unsure if their relationship is as passionate and exciting as it once was.

5. All My Friends Say

The song that started off the singer’s career with a bang, “All My Friends Say” quickly reached the No. 5 Billboard’s country chart. It tells the tale of a man that wakes up from a devastating hangover unsure of what transpired the night before.

6. Country Girl (Shake it for Me)

One of his most diverse songs, “Country Girl (Shake it for Me)” is more up-tempo and fun than many of Luke Bryan’s other songs. The infectious little ditty reached No. 4 in Billboard.

7. Someone Else Calling You Baby

“Baby, is someone else calling you baby?” That’s the lead line in “Someone Else Calling You Baby.” As you can tell from the title and that single line alone, this song is a sad one.

8. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Luke Bryan switches things up with “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” Into a traditional country track, he adds electric guitar riffs and hard-hitting vocals.

9. Rain Is a Good Thing

It’s easy to complain about a rainy day. But “Rain Is a Good Thing” shows you why a rainy day can sometimes be a good thing. “Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey / Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky.”

10. We Rode in Trucks

Growing up in rural America is a unique experience. And this nostalgic song delves right into Luke Bryan’s own experiences with rural living. It never reached the same level of commercial success as many of his other tracks but it does showcase the more evocative side of his songwriting.

Luke Bryan has created a lot of amazing songs over the years but the ten discussed above are his absolute best of all time.

Don’t Fret: Tips for Choosing a Guitar for Beginners

As a beginner, choosing a guitar that is right for you can be a very daunting task. With the wide range of available models and types, not to mention the different brands, it is quite understandable for a fledgling to be confused. But don’t let appearances and the cheap price fool you. As said before, not all guitars are created equal. If you really want to not only look but also sound like a rock star, you may want to consider the lists below before making that life-changing decision.

There is an ongoing consensus with many adept guitarists that every brand is unique due to the brand’s own musical preferences. Some brands favor jazz, folk or blues while some brands are perfect for rock, metal and even pop. Though experts mostly agree on this, there are still certain guitar brands that most musicians from different music circles swear their life on:

    • Gibson from Nashville, USA is the most known acoustic guitar brand in the world. Company founder Orville Gibson was the mind behind the archtop guitar – a full body steel-stringed acoustic guitar with the distinctive arched top that is favored by most jazz artists. Though most attest to Gibson’s quality in sound and make, it is also known to be more pricey than other brands. The good news is, Gibson makes sure that your money is definitely worth it. Gibson is also known by the (moderately-priced) names Epiphone, Kramer and Tobias, to name a few.


    • Fender from Arizona, USA is widely known to be the best manufacturer of solid body electric guitars and amplifiers. Its founder, Clarence Leonidas ‘Leo’ Fender, was the first to be commercially successful in designing the Precision Bass, a solid body electric bass that was favored largely by rock, jazz, country and funk musicians. Fender’s Stratocaster has been the favored guitar of well-known guitarists Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.


  • Ibanez from Nagoya, Japan is the most recommended brand for beginners. With its affordable price, Ibanez was never known to sacrifice their sound quality for just looking good on stage. Ibanez has successfully entwined cheap price with quality making it one of the fastest and best-selling brands in the market.

Now that you are familiar with the best guitar brands out there, let’s whet your appetite more with these cool guitar makes that you might want to look at while picking a guitar from your local music store. For those who chose to learn acoustic, you will want to take a look at:

    • Epiphone DR-100 from the makers of Gibson. It is known for its prominent spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and its very low price making it the perfect choice for beginners. Though the sound quality is good, it is mostly considered as the “novice’s guitar” so you might want to either trade or sell this to a more upgraded make, Epiphone EL-00 or the more expensive Gibson Robert Johnson L-1.


    • Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught, the low-cost acoustic guitar from Fender which is also known for its laminated spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and its low action that makes it easy to play.


  • Ibanez AW50NT is known to be the benchmark guitar for beginners. Really affordable without compromising the quality so intermediate and professional players can enjoy it too.

For those who want to grab an electric guitar as their first, you need to take a look at:

    • Epiphone Les Paul Standard is made perfect for Rock and Roll. It is very affordable with a great sounding pickups and build quality. For musicians who prefer punk, rock, metal and funk.


    • The whole Squier Stratocaster and Telecastervariety from the makers of Fender. Yes, it may seem unfair that two whole line of Squier is on this list, but these varieties are known for its low prices, comfortability and its ability to actually look like the more expensive Fender Stratocaster. Also, musicians like Keith Richards have been known to favor the sound that comes off a Telecaster.


  • Ibanez GRX20, Ibanez GRGA32T and Ibanez Artcore Guitar are also worth seeing. The selling point of any Ibanez guitar is its affordability and overall good quality, making this line a must-have for guitar enthusiasts.

Never purchase a guitar whose price does not exceed $200 because those low-priced guitars are known to have a hollow sound, thus making it a poor investment. If in doubt, return to this list and you’ll soon find the perfect guitar for you. And remember, you’ve been warned.

How Long Does it Take to Learn the Guitar?

Want to be a Rock Star?

Learning new things is never that easy. One needs to exert time and effort to be able to actually apply new learnings even half-decently. To be exceedingly good at something, one needs to add determination and talent to that formula. Learning how to play an instrument like a guitar is no exception. Some learn to play pretty quickly while for some it seems to be an insurmountable struggle.

You can’t expect to do all those impressive guitar solos just by fantasizing or playing air guitar with your friends. Like everything else, practice and patience are the key in successfully learning how to play a guitar. One needs to consider the amount and way of practicing guitar-playing. Though of course, a beginner will always wonder “How long will it take before I can kick Dave Grohl’s guitar-playing butt?”.

Any famous guitarist worth his salt will tell you that they didn’t become successful just by being musically-gifted. Playing the guitar means that one needs a perfect finger-memory coordination to be able to spew out an ear-candy melody. Basically, learning is a never-ending process with plenty of room for improvement and development. But if you really are determined to learn how to play a guitar the fastest way and given that you never stop practicing, this timeline can be your guide in finding out how long should it actually take for you to learn.

1 – 2 months: Learn how to read tabs and then practice those tabs. Try using a guiter learning course like Jamorama (see our Jamorama reviewhere). Most tabs required varying amount of speed and strumming patterns and these can only be learned through practice. By the end of 2nd month, you should be able to play simple songs already.

3 – 6 months: Once you’ve mastered the basics, you are ready to level up with more difficult, technical songs. You can start learning easy guitar techniques like hammering a string using your fretting finger. This can help your hand-finger-memory coordination.

1 – 20 years: You should be able to play songs with various riffs and bar chords with a little improvisations on the side to entertain friends and colleagues with your Gene Simmons impersonations (or not).

If you truly enjoy playing the guitar, then time will be of no importance. Dedication, discipline and determination play a vital role in wanting to learn anything new – not just learning how to play a musical instrument. Most beginners become frustrated when they make mistakes or can’t perform the easy songs within a few days of practice. Some are even embarrassed to practice in front of other people for fear of suffering any amount of jeering or criticism. Remember that mistakes are important in order to learn and acquire the skills to play better.

As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Practice regularly for at least 30 minutes and always remember to have fun. Serious guitar players have committed themselves in learning the craft and not closing their minds to continuous learning. Guitar-playing is not all about fame and fortune. It is about expressing yourself in the most inventive, artful way.

Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Guitar

We live in a world where a person’s social status can be judged by one’s ability to play a musical instrument. A place where the word ‘guitarist’ almost corresponds with the “cool” social status. This is one of the numerous reasons why people in general have gone through the phase of wanting to learn how to play a guitar. Unfortunately, not all have the passion or dedication required to be taken as a serious musician by discerning and adoring fans. But for those that do, they need to realize that picking the right guitar to begin with is much harder than learning to play it.

You read it right – not all guitars are created equal. While they may all look alike at some point, below is a list of models of guitar that is commonly seen and used by your friendly neighborhood so-called rock stars and obviously need to be familiar with yourself:

Acoustic Guitar – Considered as the most basic guitar and is further subdivided into three: (1) classical or nylon-string guitar usually used in playing classical, jazz and flamenco music; (2) steel-string guitar which is commonly played in blues, country, folk, jazz and rock; and (3) the archtop guitar.

Electric Guitar – Normally seen in rock bands, this type of guitar works by producing modified and amplified electric signals through a loud speaker.

Bass Guitar – Seen in rock and heavy metal music and also works by generating electrical signals, it is usually used in playing beats and music framework.

Most guitar-playing individuals would probably recommend starting with an acoustic guitar. Aside from being able to produce rich and mellow sounds without the additional cost of an amplifier, acoustic guitars normally used harder and heavier gauge of strings that makes it so much harder to learn than the electric and bass guitars. Much like the principle of learning to drive a manual car before replacing it with an automatic, acoustic guitars serves as a good foundation for those who really wanted to learn guitar playing seriously. However, it still all depends on exactly what type of music the student wants to play.

Even after you’ve decided the guitar model you wanted to learn playing with, there are still a number of things to be considered before actually making a purchase. Below are the guidelines you can follow while visiting your local music store.

Consult your wallet or savings account before even thinking of buying a guitar. Aside from the fact that guitars are the easiest musical instrument to learn, it is also one of the cheapest. You don’t even need to buy a brand new guitar in order to learn. You can check your local second-hand stores or pawn shops for guitars on sale. However, beware of guitars that costs under $200. Remember, there is a logical explanation as to why that guitar you’ve been eyeing on only costs $100 – it is probably made out of cheap materials or is poorly constructed that would inevitably affect its sound.

Call your seasoned guitar-playing friends and ask for their opinion on what they think is the best guitar model and brand. You can make a list based on what they said about what make and brands to consider and what are to be avoided.

Have a feel of the guitar before thinking of making a purchase. Appearance is not everything so always remember to play the thing before handing the salesperson your hard-earned money. You can ask your friend (from Guideline #2) to accompany you in making a purchase. Try plucking one string at a time while choosing your guitar – the sound may come out nice but if you feel uncomfortable playing that specific model then leave it and try another one. Always consider the guitar’s size, curves, weight and cut-aways (if any) while choosing what to buy, for these factors will also add comfort to your learning.

Choosing your very first guitar should be fun! Just don’t forget the warranty, extra set of strings and tuner before leaving the music store and you’re good to go.

No Musical Talent? No Problem!

Everybody, in some point of their lives, have dreamt of becoming a rock star. Fame and fortune has always been a great motivation for most angst-y adolescents who wants to be successful without the hassles of a college diploma. And when one says ‘rock star’, the image of a leather-wearing, makeup laden, wild-looking man with a guitar never fails to pop up in mind. Hence, it is quite understandable that every fantasy involving adoring fans and ear-splitting records is made of the intense desire to learn how to play a guitar.

Relative to a beginner’s physical ability and determination, a guitar is a one of the easiest musical instruments to learn how to play with the exception of course, if you are tone-deaf, then no amount of determination can help. While some manage to learn to play the guitar either by playing by ear or being specifically gifted, most requires to take lessons and practice extensively in order to perfect their craft.

There are numerous reasons why most beginners are easily dissuaded in learning how to play a guitar. While some think that they needed to be ‘musically-inclined’ to get started, most are just thinking that they had started too late (as the saying goes “You simply cannot teach an old dog new tricks”). The good news is, it’s never too late to learn anything as simple as guitar-playing. The hardest part of learning how to play is for the calluses on the fingertips to develop which is required just so you can actually enjoy playing, otherwise you might just give up for nursing sore fingers.

Most beginners think that learning to decently play any musical instrument entails the help and guidance of a music teacher and/or expensive music lessons. The beauty of learning how to play a guitar is that you can literally do it by yourself. The internet, for one, offers various web sites that offer free lessons – not to mention numerous books, CDs and DVDs that also feature instructions on how to play guitar. All you need to do is choose wisely which instruction you would find easy to follow. The learning course we recommend is Jamorama.

However, finding the right guitar to play may not be as easy as teaching yourself how to play it. It is imperative that you start with the basics. For most beginners, it is recommended that one learns to play with an acoustic rather than an electric guitar. Though the strings of an electric guitar may indeed be kinder to your fingertips, an acoustic guitar will help you become fully accustomed with strumming the strings and help develop the much-needed calluses much faster.

Just remember: Patience is a virtue. You can’t expect yourself to do those awesome Gene Simmons’ or Slash’s solo without taking the time and effort to actually practice. Allot at least 30 minutes of your time daily to allow your fingertips to familiarize with the guitar strings. You can also do some hand exercises, like squeezing a tennis ball, to help strengthen your hand. Once you master the basics, you can gradually start experimenting with free-form and playing tunes you’ve heard by ear.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, pick up a guitar and be the rock star you’ve always dreamt of.

Guitars 101: The History of Modern Guitars

Quick, think of one thing that you need to have at hand in order to ‘look’ remotely cool. Had an image of a guitar suddenly popped up in your head?

It is no secret that guitarists, from time immemorial, had always enjoyed a certain amount of notoriety not limited to the music industry to an extent that learning how to play a guitar has already become an essential phase in every teenage generation. It appears to be that one fad that never seems to mellow out or die down no matter how many decades pass. Like everything else, guitars have a rich history that is perfectly augmented with time.

The guitar is considered one of the most popular members of the chordophone family – a type of musical instrument that works by making a sound through the vibration of stretched string or strings. A guitar is usually made of wood and is commonly strung with either nylon or steel strings. Throughout the years, the modern guitar has spawned many different types, with acoustic and electric guitar being two of the most famous ones.

The history of a guitar was said to be traced back to 4,000 years ago with many theories believing that the original predecessor of this musical instrument is none other than the ancient Greeks’ kithara – a musical instrument that is a flat squared-framed harp, because of the similarities in the name alone. However, the earliest string instruments unearthed by modern archaeologists that appears remotely like the modern guitar is the bowl harp which uses tortoise shells as a resonator, a bent stick as its neck and silk strings. It was known to be played by ancient Sumerians, Babylonians and Egyptians. A depiction of the supposed evolution of the bowl harp, the tanbur or the pear-shaped stringed instrument with a long neck, is found in various ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and stone carvings and similar relics from ancient Mesopotamia and Persian that clearly suggests these instruments were played as early as the 13th century. Cairo’s Archaeological Museum in Egypt currently houses the oldest preserved guitar-like instrument, a three-string tanbur made of polished cedar wood that was said to belong to an Egyptian singer by the name of Har-Mose, which was found buried beside him.

Moors from ancient civilization were believed to be the ones solely responsible for introducing a more developed type of tanbur to Spain named oud which the Europeans eventually added frets to and consequently called lute (derived from the word Al’ud or laud which literally means ‘the wood’). Though its modern name guitar was mainly derived from the Persian word chartar (meaning” four-strings), by the beginning of the Renaissance period, Italians have helped the guitar to further evolve into a five unison-tuned pair of strings named guitarra battente. By 17th century, it became a six-course instrument that gradually paved way to the modern six-stringed guitar.

The modern guitar finally decided to take its shape in 1832 with the help of Spanish maker Antonio Torres whose decision to increase its body size from its former form and introduced the visionary fan top-bracing pattern strikingly improved its sound, volume and tone. By the end of 19th century, an American named Orville Gibson has successfully built a guitar with oval sound holes that came to be known as an archtop guitar that allows the top to vibrate freely thus creating more volume to the sound. The year 1920 introduced the amplified sounds of an electric guitar that are commonly used by most ‘radio-friendly’ bands in history.

No matter where you’re from, your age, race or religion, guitar music has probably touched your life in more ways than one. For better or worse, the hype in guitar-playing is here to stay.