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Features of an electric guitar you didn't know you needed!

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Bonus features that can enhance playing

Many guitar players are perfectly happy with what they have in terms of features. Still, there are many guitars that come equipped with extra features that can enhance or simplify the way you play. If you’re considering upgrading your guitar, here are a few features you may want to add on next time.

Tremolo/Whammy Bar

A common addition to electric guitars is a vibrato system. Vibrato systems for guitar have been developed since the 1930s. They are used to add vibrato to the sound by changing the tension of the strings, typically at the bridge or tailpiece of an electric guitar using a controlling lever (often referred to as a whammy bar, vibrato arm/bar, or tremolo arm/bar). The lever enables the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch to create a vibrato or pitch bend effect.

The whammy bar can be used for a number of different effects, from a twangy effect to shredding. It’s commonly used in rock music, particularly surf, metal, and hard rock. Renowned guitarists David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Ritchie Blackmore, and Eddie Van Halen have used them frequently.

These bars can definitely add to your playing arsenal, but keep in mind that frequent use of them will wear down your strings much quicker than standard playing will.

Instant Drop Tuning

Drop tuning is achieved by unwinding one or more of the strings on your guitar to produce a lower note when played. The most common of these tunings is “Drop D” tuning, which is frequently used in hard rock, metal, and alternative rock. For this tuning, you simply lower your bottom E string to produce a D. Many guitars now have a mechanism built into the bottom tuner which automatically drops the string to D with the flip of a lever. The E tuning is set with the traditional tuning button while the low position is set with the small thumb screw on the tuner body. Companies such as Hipshot offer these tuners as an accessory to your existing guitar as well.

Built-in string tuner

It’s always important to make sure your strings are in tune. Guitar tuners come in both electronic and “pitch pipe” varieties and can also be found for free on numerous websites and smartphone apps. But you may not always have access to your phone or a computer, and portable tuners can easily be misplaced. The solution? Many guitars, particularly acoustic-electric models, come with a built-in electronic tuner. Simply turn it on, and start tuning! An indicator (usually a green light) will come on when the string is perfectly tuned.

Built-in effects!

Don’t want to carry around a ton of effects pedals? Some guitar manufacturers such as BilT, Alesis, and Vox, offer guitars with built-in effects, and even other synthesized instrument sounds. They are worth checking out.

The Wrap-Up

These are just some of the innovations that can contribute to your unique sound. Check out music dealers and see what they have to offer.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664 or email: guitarman.glenn@gmail.com

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