Should I Change Pickups or Buy a New Guitar?

As a guitar teacher, I get asked this question a lot. Since pickups can radically change or expand the tonal options available from an electric guitar, would it be better to just change the pickups or save up for a whole new guitar?

The 1970s: The Lost Decade in Guitars

While I wasn’t playing guitar in the 1970’s, I certainly was around. I mean, I started playing in 1979 on a cheap nylon string (I still have it) and progressed to my older brother’s late ’60s Japanese electric that never quite played in tune. In the 1980’s, a friend of my parents got me a…

This Sounds Odd: Understanding 9th Chords

Contrary to where modern guitar has gone, it started life as a rhythm instrument, bashing out chords on a large archtop (or larchtop*) in the back of the band. Yes, it is hard to believe that at one time, the idea of sweep picking lydian-dominant arps at 200 bpm was unheard of, and the idea of having a great chord vocabulary (and being able to improvise with those chords) was essential to be considered a great guitarist that could work steadily and support all of those spotlight-stealing brass players. These days, being an amazing rhythm player is downplayed in favor of other aspects of guitar playing, but understanding some small things about chords will only let our solos stand out more, and give us more interesting things to play over. If you haven’t read it yet, I would also suggest reading my article about 7th chords, as this article will build on those concepts.

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