Expert Insights: Your Guitar Questions Answered with Kevin Krause

Unveiling the Secrets of the Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide with Kevin Krause

The guitar has been a staple in music for centuries, from classical concertos to rock anthems. Many people dream of learning to play this iconic instrument. Still, embarking on this journey can be daunting without the proper guidance. This article from your tried-and-true music guides hopes to unlock the secrets of guitar mastery. We’ve enlisted the expertise of Kevin Krause, a seasoned guitar instructor.

Kevin will share essential knowledge to guide guitarists of all levels toward excellence. From selecting the perfect guitar to mastering playing techniques and maintaining your instrument, we've covered it all. We'll also explore diverse musical genres, inspiring you to expand your musical horizons. So pick up your guitar, get ready to learn, and let's embark on this musical adventure together with Kevin Krause.

1. Meet the Expert: Kevin Krause

Meet the Expert: Kevin Krause

Kevin Krause is a highly sought-after guitar instructor with over two decades of experience guiding aspiring guitarists toward excellence. He has a deep understanding of music theory, playing techniques, and the intricacies of various guitar styles. Kevin’s passion for teaching shines through in his ability to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to students of all levels.

Throughout his career, Kevin has honed his skills through extensive performance experience. He has graced stages alongside renowned musicians and has a deep understanding of the practical application of guitar techniques in real-world musical settings. His expertise extends beyond live performance, as he has also produced and engineered several albums, further solidifying his knowledge of the entire music production process.

2. Guitar Selection: Finding the Perfect Instrument

Guitar Selection: Finding the Perfect Instrument

When embarking on your guitar-playing journey, selecting the perfect instrument is crucial. Several factors come into play, each influencing the guitar’s sound, feel, and overall playing experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision:

Body Type:

The body type of a guitar significantly impacts its sound and resonance. Acoustic guitars come in various body shapes, including dreadnought, concert, and parlor, each with its unique tonal characteristics. Electric guitars, on the other hand, have solid bodies that produce a more focused and sustained sound. Consider the type of music you want to play and the desired sound to guide your choice.


The type of wood used in the construction of a guitar greatly influences its tonal qualities. Common tonewoods for acoustic guitars include spruce, mahogany, and rosewood, each imparting a distinct sound profile. Electric guitars often utilize alder, ash, and maple, which contribute to their characteristic bright and twangy tones.

Electric vs Acoustic Guitars

Electric vs Acoustic Guitars

The choice between an electric and an acoustic guitar depends on your musical preferences, playing style, and the desired sound. Here’s a detailed comparison of their characteristics and applications:

Electric Guitars:

Electric guitars produce sound through electromagnetic pickups that convert string vibrations into electrical signals. They are known for their versatility and wide range of tonal possibilities. Electric guitars excel in genres such as rock, blues, jazz, and metal, where distortion, sustain, and feedback are often desired. They also allow for various effects and modifications, enabling guitarists to shape their sound to their liking.

Acoustic Guitars:

Acoustic guitars rely on the natural resonance of their bodies to produce sound. They have a warmer, more organic tone and are often used in genres such as folk, country, and classical music. Acoustic guitars are popular for singer-songwriters and performers who value the natural projection and unplugged sound. They come in various body sizes and shapes, each with its unique tonal characteristics.

Body Styles and Tonewoods

Body Styles and Tonewoods

Body Styles:

The body style of a guitar significantly influences its sound and playing feel. Different body shapes create unique resonant qualities and tonal characteristics. Common acoustic guitar body styles include:

  • Dreadnought: Known for its large body and powerful, balanced sound, the dreadnought is a popular choice for strumming and flatpicking.
  • Concert: Smaller than the dreadnought, the concert body offers a more focused and articulate tone, ideal for fingerstyle playing.
  • Parlor: The smallest and most portable acoustic body style, the parlor guitar produces a warm, intimate sound, perfect for blues and folk music.


The type of wood used in a guitar’s construction greatly affects its tonal qualities. Common tonewoods for acoustic guitars include:

  • Spruce: Known for its bright, clear sound, spruce is a popular choice for soundboards, the main sound-producing part of the guitar.
  • Mahogany: Mahogany produces a warm, rich tone with excellent sustain, making it a common choice for both soundboards and back and sides.
  • Rosewood: Rosewood offers a deep, resonant sound with a rich overtone structure. It is often used for back and sides, as well as fingerboards.

Pickups and Electronics

Pickups and Electronics


Pickups are electromagnetic devices that convert the vibrations of guitar strings into electrical signals. They play a crucial role in shaping the sound of an electric guitar. There are two main types of pickups: single-coil and humbucker. Single-coil pickups produce a bright, twangy tone, while humbuckers offer a thicker, more powerful sound with reduced noise.


The electronics in an electric guitar consist of potentiometers (volume and tone controls), a pickup selector switch, and sometimes additional features like coil-splitting or phase switching. These components allow guitarists to adjust the output level, tone, and pickup combinations, further customizing their sound.

3. Playing Techniques: Mastering the Basics

Playing Techniques: Mastering the Basics

Hand Position and Fretting:

Proper hand position is essential for playing guitar comfortably and accurately. The left hand should be positioned on the neck, with the thumb resting behind the neck and the fingers arched over the fingerboard. When fretting notes, press down firmly with the fingertips, ensuring clean contact with the strings without muting adjacent strings.

Strumming and Picking:

Strumming involves using a pick or the fingers to strike the strings and create a rhythmic pattern. There are various strumming techniques, each producing a different sound. Picking, on the other hand, involves using a pick to pluck individual strings, allowing for greater control and precision in note selection.

Hand Position and Fretting

Hand Position and Fretting

Optimal Hand Position:

The optimal hand position for fretting is with the thumb resting behind the neck and the fingers arched over the fingerboard. The wrist should be straight and relaxed, and the fingers should be perpendicular to the frets. This position allows for maximum dexterity, accuracy, and comfort while playing.

Accurate Note Articulation:

Accurate note articulation requires precise finger placement and proper fretting technique. When fretting a note, press down firmly with the fingertip, ensuring clean contact with the string without muting adjacent strings. Avoid pressing too hard, as this can hinder finger movement and cause intonation problems. Practice scales and exercises to develop finger strength, coordination, and accuracy.

Strumming and Picking

Strumming and Picking

Strumming Patterns:

Strumming involves using a pick or the fingers to strike the strings and create a rhythmic pattern. There are various strumming patterns, each producing a different sound and feel. Some common strumming patterns include the downstroke, upstroke, and alternate picking. Experiment with different patterns to find those that best suit your playing style and the music you want to create.

Picking Techniques:

Picking involves using a pick to pluck individual strings, allowing for greater control and precision in note selection. There are several picking techniques, including alternate picking, economy picking, and sweep picking. Alternate picking involves alternating between downstrokes and upstrokes, while economy picking minimizes unnecessary string movements. Sweep picking is a technique used to play arpeggios and scales smoothly and quickly.

Scales and Chords

Scales and Chords

Basic Guitar Scales:

Scales are a series of notes played in ascending or descending order. They form the foundation for melodies, solos, and improvisations. Some basic guitar scales for beginners include the major scale, minor scale, and pentatonic scale. Practice scales regularly to improve your finger dexterity, coordination, and overall musicianship.

Essential Guitar Chords:

Chords are combinations of three or more notes played together. They are the building blocks of rhythm guitar and provide harmonic accompaniment to melodies. Some essential guitar chords for beginners include the C major, G major, D major, and E minor chords. Learn how to form and transition between these chords to expand your chord vocabulary and enhance your songwriting and accompaniment skills.

4. Guitar Maintenance: Keeping Your Instrument in Top Shape

Guitar Maintenance: Keeping Your Instrument in Top Shape

Importance of Proper Maintenance:

Regular maintenance is crucial for preserving the playability, sound quality, and longevity of your guitar. Neglecting maintenance can lead to various issues, such as rust, corrosion, warped necks, and diminished sound quality. By following proper maintenance practices, you can ensure that your guitar remains in optimal condition for years to come.

Cleaning Your Guitar:

Cleaning your guitar regularly removes dirt, grime, and fingerprints that can accumulate over time. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe down the body, neck, and strings. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the finish or components of your guitar.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning the Guitar Body:

Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe down the body of your guitar. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the finish. If the body is particularly dirty, you can use a mild soap solution and a damp cloth to gently clean it. Be sure to dry the guitar thoroughly afterward to prevent any moisture damage.

Cleaning the Fretboard:

For the fretboard, use a specialized fretboard cleaner or a soft cloth dampened with lemon oil. Apply the cleaner or oil to the fretboard and use a soft cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or grime. Be careful not to over-clean the fretboard, as this can remove the natural oils that help to protect it.

Cleaning the Strings:

To clean the strings, use a soft cloth and gently wipe them down. You can also use a string cleaner specifically designed for guitars. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the strings. After cleaning the strings, be sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent any rust or corrosion.

Restringing the Guitar

Restringing the Guitar

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Remove the old strings: Loosen the strings by turning the tuning pegs counterclockwise. Once they are loose, carefully remove them from the bridge and the tuning pegs.
  2. Prepare the new strings: Take a new string and insert it into the bridge. Pull the string through the hole and up through the corresponding tuning peg.
  3. Wind the string: Wrap the string around the tuning peg in a clockwise direction. Make sure to keep the string tight as you wind it.
  4. Tune the string: Once the string is wound, use a tuner or your ear to tune it to the correct pitch.
  5. Repeat for all strings: Repeat steps 2-4 for all six strings.
  6. Stretch the strings: Once all the strings are on and tuned, stretch them by pulling on them gently. This will help to stabilize the tuning.
  7. Tune the guitar again: After stretching the strings, retune the guitar to ensure that it is in tune.

Adjusting the Guitar

Adjusting the Guitar

Adjusting the Truss Rod:

The truss rod is a metal rod that runs inside the neck of the guitar. It is used to adjust the curvature of the neck, also known as the relief. To adjust the truss rod, you will need a truss rod wrench. Turn the truss rod clockwise to tighten it and counterclockwise to loosen it. Small adjustments are recommended, and it is important to avoid over-tightening.

Adjusting the Intonation:

Intonation refers to the accuracy of the guitar’s tuning at different frets. To adjust the intonation, you will need a tuner and a small screwdriver. Play the guitar at the 12th fret and check the tuning. If the note is sharp, move the saddle of the string towards the bridge. If the note is flat, move the saddle away from the bridge. Repeat this process for all strings.

Adjusting the Action:

The action refers to the height of the strings above the fretboard. To adjust the action, you will need a set of hex keys or screwdrivers. Locate the bridge of the guitar and adjust the screws to raise or lower the strings. Raising the action can make the guitar easier to play, while lowering the action can improve the playability and speed for certain techniques.

5. Musical Inspiration: Exploring Different Genres

Musical Inspiration: Exploring Different Genres

Broaden Your Musical Horizons:

Exploring different musical genres can enrich your guitar playing and inspire your creativity. Each genre has its own unique characteristics, techniques, and influences. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing new musical styles can enhance your overall musicianship and bring fresh ideas to your playing.

Resources for Expanding Your Knowledge:

  • Online lessons and tutorials: Numerous online platforms offer lessons and tutorials covering a wide range of guitar genres. These resources provide structured guidance and allow you to learn at your own pace.
  • Books and magazines: Books and magazines dedicated to specific genres can provide in-depth knowledge about the history, techniques, and influential artists of those genres.
  • Attend concerts and workshops: Attending live concerts and workshops gives you the opportunity to experience different genres firsthand and learn from experienced musicians.

Rock and Blues

Rock and Blues: A Journey Through History and Technique

Historical Roots and Evolution:

Rock and blues music are deeply intertwined, sharing a common ancestry in American folk and blues traditions. Rock emerged in the mid-20th century as a fusion of blues, country, and rhythm and blues. Over the years, it has evolved into a diverse array of subgenres, including classic rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock.

Essential Techniques and Characteristics:

Rock and blues guitar playing are characterized by distinct techniques and approaches. Rock guitarists often employ distortion and overdrive to create a powerful, saturated sound. Blues guitarists, on the other hand, frequently use bending and vibrato to add expressive nuance to their playing. Both genres emphasize improvisation and soloing, allowing guitarists to showcase their technical skills and creativity.

Influential Artists and Pioneers:

Numerous legendary guitarists have shaped the sound and style of rock and blues music. In rock, icons like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page pushed the boundaries of guitar playing with their innovative techniques and songwriting. In blues, greats such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Stevie Ray Vaughan are revered for their emotive playing and profound influence on the genre.

Jazz and Classical

Jazz and Classical: Exploring Complexity and Refinement

Jazz Guitar: Improvisation and Sophistication:

Jazz guitar is renowned for its complex harmonies, intricate fingerpicking techniques, and emphasis on improvisation. Jazz guitarists often employ extended chords, altered scales, and syncopated rhythms to create a sophisticated and expressive sound. Improvisation is a central aspect of jazz guitar, allowing musicians to spontaneously create and interact with each other.

Classical Guitar: Precision and Artistry:

Classical guitar music is characterized by its focus on precision, clarity, and adherence to traditional techniques. Classical guitarists strive to achieve a pure and balanced sound, often using complex fingerpicking patterns and delicate ornamentation. The repertoire for classical guitar includes both original compositions and arrangements of classical pieces for solo guitar.

Online Learning Resources

Online Learning Resources: Expand Your Skills with Digital Guidance

Structured Lessons and Tutorials:

  • Fender Play: A comprehensive online platform offering interactive lessons and tutorials for guitarists of all levels. Fender Play provides structured courses covering various genres and techniques, making it a great resource for beginners and experienced players alike.
  • JustinGuitar: A popular website and YouTube channel featuring free guitar lessons for all levels. JustinGuitar provides a systematic and beginner-friendly approach to learning the guitar, with clear explanations and demonstrations.
  • TrueFire: An extensive online library of guitar lessons, tutorials, and workshops. TrueFire offers a wide range of courses taught by renowned guitarists, covering various genres, techniques, and musical concepts.

Community and Support:

  • Guitar Forums: Online forums such as the Acoustic Guitar Forum and the Electric Guitar Forum provide a platform for guitarists to connect, ask questions, and share knowledge. These forums are a valuable resource for troubleshooting, getting feedback, and engaging with other guitar enthusiasts.
  • Social Media Groups: Facebook groups and other social media communities dedicated to guitar playing offer a sense of community and support. Members share tips, techniques, and experiences, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Quiz: Test Your Guitar Knowledge

  1. Which of the following is NOT a factor to consider when choosing an electric guitar?

(a) Body Type (b) Tonewoods (c) Number of Frets

  1. True or False: The truss rod is used to adjust the height of the strings above the fretboard.

(a) True (b) False

  1. Which musical genre is characterized by its use of improvisation and syncopated rhythms?

(a) Jazz (b) Classical (c) Rock

  1. True or False: Online guitar lessons can be just as effective as in-person lessons.

(a) True (b) False

  1. Which of the following is NOT a benefit of exploring different musical genres on the guitar?

(a) Expanding your musical knowledge (b) Enhancing your creativity (c) Improving your technical skills

Please submit your answers to check your understanding of the article’s main points.

Answer Key:

  1. (c) Number of Frets
  2. (b) False
  3. (a) Jazz
  4. (a) True
  5. None of the above (Exploring different musical genres offers all the listed benefits)

More to Explore