REVIEW: Yamaha Revstar Element RSE20

We reviewed Yamaha’s Revstar Element RSE20 electric guitar. 

It’s available in our store! 

Check out the review below: 


Here’s a transcript of the review: 


Today we’re demoing the Revstar Element series. They’re brand new in our shop, and we’re super excited to have these guitars in stock. These are ones that we’ve been looking at for a long time, and a super unique guitar from the electric Yamaha range.  This is the Element – this is the entry-level Revstar guitar, but the bar is set high with the Revstar line and the Element really delivers. It’s a super well-playing and well-constructed guitar. It has, through and through, the Yamaha quality and attention to the features, and the pricing that we really appreciate. 

They do such a good job of delivering consistency and high quality, and that holds true really well with this new Revstar unit. These guitars really have a particular aesthetic.  I mean this one really jumps out, right? They actually come in a really sweet variety of colors. This is the yellow, we also have it in black,  blue, and white, so it really covers the range of different vibes that you would want, from sort of more dialed back and mysterious,  to this one which I really love.  This neon yellow goes absolutely crazy. Kudos to Yamaha for making some really great and unique color choices that match the uniqueness of this guitar. 

It’s got a really distinct body shape.  It’s somewhat like an offset double cutaway guitar. I don’t even know what I could really compare this to – you know there are other guitars that are out there that might have a similar sort of look to it,  but the Revstar really is sort of in a league of its own.  They are really nicely contoured with chambering in the body which make it very nicely balanced and a really just comfortable weight, so I like that a lot. Contouring on the back and on the front as well is just a little bit here for your armrest, and these guitars also feature a double racing stripe up the middle,  which I think looks fantastic.  It sort of hearkens back to the automotive, and I know it kind of is inspired by vintage motorcycle aesthetic, so I really can’t argue with that. It’s super cool set-neck construction, so it’s got a really nice neck joint meets up with the body here, and it’s got just easy access all the way up to the 22nd fret with jumbo fret, and the first real major difference maker to me that I noticed when I picked up this guitar was actually the paint treatment.  The finish treatment on the neck – I really am not sure what this is but it is different from the glossy finish on the body, so on the neck it’s more of a matte finish which is just so comfortable. Your hand doesn’t stick to it or slide around on it the same way that it would with a glossy finish.  This matte is just so super comfortable, and it kind of reminds me of just lightly finished treated wood. I don’t know what they’re doing to get this textured matte finish on it, but it really does a good job. 

It’s got a a substantial neck size, very comfortable –  not like a thin neck profile, it’s more of like a C shape, but again, pretty unique neck profile. I guess I could maybe make the comparison to sort of like an SG type of neck profile, but it really takes on its own sort of thing with the connection with the body joint and the feel of the neck with the treatment. It’s super comfortable playing guitar, 22 jumbo frets, a rosewood fingerboard, and then the guitar is made of mahogany with chambering to balance it out and give it some nice resonance. 

It’s a really great body design. This is actually the slightly updated version of the Revstar. It’s just got a slightly different profile than the original release. Yamaha made some improvements with the release of this current version of the Revstar. Chambered mahogany is a really great wood choice and it’s super stable and very resonant and sturdy. I just love the construction throughout with the full mahogany and the set neck joint. Jumbo frets too are just a really needed feature. I really appreciate having that on most of my modern instruments. All of the Revstars use a Tune-O-Matic style bridge. They also have these kind of cool tuners with it’s sort of like a resin tuning peg which just looks nice. 

Onto the electronics – these are all NI5 focus mid-range and sort of a full spectrum humbucker. 

It’s  just like a standard kind of humbucker sound that will do everything that you need a humbucker to do, and I’ll do some different tones as well to kind of give you a sense of the sound, but I wanted to really feature just how nice and kind of bright they sound. You know, playing clean and that’s really what I look for in a good instrument, one that’s going to respond well to my playing and reward me for good technique and that’s what these pickups do. 

They sound clear throughout – you know, all of the different notes, the chords, the low, low ones pick up great.  The higher notes come out perfectly, and then what you get from there is the ability to access your different combinations. It’s got a three-way selector switch. 


Here are the reasons you should learn to play guitar

If you’ve always wanted to play guitar, but couldn’t justify taking the time to learn, here are some of the reasons you should take the plunge this season. 


Playing guitar is good for your health

Playing an instrument has multiple health benefits – it’s been proven to help with blood pressure, pain relief, and stress relief, and can even help keep your mind sharp! 


It gives you an outlet for creative expression 

Learning guitar will help you tap into your own creative potential, which helps you think outside of the box even in non-musical situations.. Learning other people’s songs might even help inspire you to write your own songs!

It’s a good way to get involved in your local music scene

Playing guitar at local open mic nights is a great way to meet other new musicians.  You may even find other musicians and start a band! 


Playing guitar will improve your hand-eye coordination 

Learning guitar can be a slow process because you’re training the muscles in both of your hands to do something completely different than they’re used to. Keep practicing at it and you’ll improve your overall hand-eye coordination! 


It’s a huge confidence booster. 

Whether your goal is to be a guitar shredder or just accompany yourself while you sing, learning a skill like guitar will boost your self-esteem and become a source of pride. 


It’s fun!

Nothing feels better than learning a song that you love on guitar. Playing guitar is more exciting than watching TV or scrolling through Instagram, and you’ll love the learning process. 


Fret Zealot makes the guitar learning experience easier by putting it in the palm of your hand. 

Choose from 3,500 song lessons, more than 100 courses, 250,000 song tabs, and every note, scale and tab. Learn guitar when you have the time, in a way that makes sense to you.

REVIEW: Yamaha FGX800C acoustic/electric guitar

We reviewed Yamaha’s FGX800C acoustic/electric guitar. 

It’s available in our store! 


Check out the review below! 


Here’s a transcript of the review: 


Today we’re taking a look at the Yamaha FGX800C.  This is a fantastic Yamaha acoustic from the FG line, and the FG line has been known since 1966 as a tried and true folk guitar design – thus, FG, folk guitar. That said, these guitars go beyond just the scope of folk music – they’re really universal and they’re fantastic instruments for the price. Yamaha has really proven themselves as a company that can deliver consistency and quality.  That’s why these guitars are some of the best sellers in our shop.  They’re always really nice performing, never have issues with the FG Series, be it the FG800 or in this case the premium – the really nice FGX800C and the differences that you get with this guitar are some of the really nice modern updates to a classic acoustic guitar.

This FGX800C has a single cutaway design as you can see fantastic access and look and feel that you get from this cutaway design. It has a dreadnought body, so a really full size but still very comfortable acoustic guitar body.  The top is Sitka Spruce, which is a really sought after wood for acoustic guitars.  It’s very resonant.  It has scalloped bracing underneath which adds a lot of nice movement and you can really hear it resonate with the low end. In addition to that, it’ll only build character over time.  These guitars are extremely durable, and as you play through and continue to break into the wood, you get a little bit more vibrancy from the tone of that guitar.  For some reason old guitars just sound great and so this is a really good amazing wood choice that will give you longevity and really clear and beautiful tones. 

Throughout the rest of the guitar neck material on the fretboard is actually walnut – same with the bridge, walnut, and then throughout the rest of the guitar we have the sides and the neck made of nato, which is a unique wood. It’s really rich in color, very sturdy, and on the back of the neck we actually have a very smooth, somewhat satiny feel.  It’s very comfortable and not overly glossy.  I’m not getting stuck to it if my hands are a little bit moist or anything like that. It’s a very comfortable neck. This is somewhat of a thin profile, so it’s really easy to hang on to if it’s your first acoustic guitar.  I think you’ll find it very comfortable and approachable if you’re a long time player.  It’s a fun neck to play on because it’s just so comfortable – kind of easy going as far as the size, not too big or cumbersome, easy to press down on the frets.  

Out of the box, it has pretty nice action, so I’m really happy with the playability of this instrument. Right out of the gate, it has black binding throughout, but another key feature that you get with the FGX800C is actually the electronics.  This is the Yamaha System 66 Electronics, which includes the 66 pickup inside the guitar.  We’ll demo the plugged in sound as well. So far we’ve been using a microphone to capture the tone of the acoustic, the acoustic properties of this guitar, but you can plug this in and play it through a PA system or an amp.  We have the the audio jack right here on the strap on the side and then the controls are up here on the top where you can access them.  It’s got a master volume control, a three band EQ that’s controls for the low, mid, and high frequencies. It’s got a tuner as well,  which is really just very nice to have. Easy, quick to use – you just press the button to access the tuner and tune up you know all in one. This guitar does everything but play itself. It’s got the tuner,  the electronics, even the EQ. The nice cutaway design with the beautiful Yamaha wood selections. Chrome tuners.  We have the strap connect connection point here.  I don’t see an additional strap strap lock on this part of the guitar, sometimes they put them there, sometimes they don’t. I think for me with my acoustic guitars, I prefer to use the method of using the one strap button on the bottom of the guitar and then using some strapping or a piece of string that’s strong enough to fasten it up here on the headstock. It just makes the guitar feel a bit more balanced when you’re standing and playing but also very comfortable to play and sit with.  Like I said, comfortable body shape. It’s a Dreadnought but it’s not overly big – which is known as a slightly larger body style,  but not as huge not as big as they do get. It’s kind of more on the medium side. I couldn’t forget as well when we’re talking about the electronics this guitar uses two AA batteries. I don’t know the battery life,  I think it may depend on how long you spend plugged in, but for an acoustic guitar I think you can expect these to last quite a long time, especially if you’re not playing plugged in exclusively. These batteries will last quite a while. They’re easy to change, you just press the lever and then it pops out, and you can change your two AA batteries and slide it back in. 

If I were to get this guitar, there would be maybe a couple reasons for getting an FGX800C.  I would definitely consider this guitar for like  an “all the time” playing guitar.  I find it really comfortable. I find it really approachable and also sort of diverse. 

It’s got a really rich tone that would sound great for things like bluegrass, folk,  even like rock if you wanted an acoustic guitar for your rock music.  I think this guitar really delivers for anything really that you would want a steel string, six-string acoustic guitar for, especially with the cutaway.  It’s super comfortable and I would choose Yamaha for the reliability.  They’re so consistent in the manufacturing quality of these guitars. I’ve worked on so many FG model Yamahas and I’ve always found them so consistent and so reliable, so I really do give props to Yamaha for being able to deliver that at this price point. 

This is not the cheapest Yamaha available.  it’s a little bit more due to the extra appointments, such as the cutaway design, the scallop bracing,  which is a really nice update.  Of course you get the electronics as well – that’s the difference between the cheapest available.  Many of them do not have electronics, so if you’re looking for an acoustic that has a pickup,  I would highly recommend this one.  Again, if that’s what you’re looking for in an acoustic guitar: reliability,  the ability to play different styles and genres while also being very comfortable –  I think that’s a great feature. Even as an intermediate to advanced player,  just having a comfortable neck, there’s nothing wrong with that. 

If you’re looking for a guitar with a pickup, you’re definitely going to want to consider the FGX800. We also have the FG800, which is another team favorite which does not feature some of those extra appointments, but Yamaha is doing a great job of providing a variety of different instruments to suit a variety of needs at a good price point. 


Don’t leave home without these guitar accessories

Heading out to jam with friends, play an open mic, or perform at a gig?

Don’t leave without taking these four items with you: 

Guitar pick 

Guitar picks are so tiny, they’re easy to forget – but you don’t want to have to strum without it! Most guitarists have a specific type of pick they prefer, so make sure you have the type of pick you like the best with you before you leave. Always leave an extra pick or two inside of your guitar case. 


Being in tune is crucial to sounding your best, and meshing with other musicians. Make sure your guitar kit includes a tuner – you can buy a clip-on version, or use the tuning function in the Fret Zealot app. 

If you’re playing in alternate tunings, the Fret Zealot app has every tuning available – right in the app! 


A guitar capo is especially useful if you’re playing with a singer and need to easily transpose the key of a song. It’s a clamp that goes onto the guitar neck to act as a “barre”, raising the pitch of the strings.

Guitar strap

Playing with a guitar strap will make it easier to stand up while you’re playing. It will stabilize the guitar against your body so that you can focus on playing, and not worry about accidentally dropping your instrument. 

@fret_zealot Don’t leave home without these! #Guitar #GuitarTok #Guitarist #Musician #FretZealot #stereotypes ♬ original sound – Fret Zealot

What is “guitar action”?

A term you may have heard in guitar conversations is “action”. When referring to guitar, “action” means more than just a really intense shredding session. 

Guitar “action” refers to the height of the guitar strings over the fretboard. Action has a huge impact on a guitar’s playability, feel and sound. 

If a guitar’s action is too high, it will be difficult to play (especially for a guitar learner). 

If a guitar’s action is too low, the strings will buzz. 

To make sure that your guitar’s action is right, you’ll want to measure it. Make sure your guitar i in tune first, so that all of the strings have the correct tension.

You’ll need an action gauge if you have access to one, or a ruler. 

Rest the measuring instrument against the guitar’s 12th fret, holding it against the string. Measure the space between the top of the fret and the bottom of the guitar string. 

Individual guitar makers will have recommendations for guitar action, so check with your guitar maker’s website to see what your ideal action should be. 

Here are some general guidelines: 


Low Action: Electric guitar: 1.00mm on the high E, acoustic guitar: 1.5mm on the high E

High Action: Electric guitar: 1.65mm on the high E, acoustic guitar: 2.3mm on the high E

@fret_zealot What is your guitar’s “action”? Find out here! #Guitar #GuitarLesson #Guitarist #GuitarTok #FretZealot ♬ Storytelling – Adriel

REVIEW: ESP LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar

We reviewed ESP’s LTD EC-256 electric guitar. 

Check out the review below! 

Here’s a transcript of the review: 

This single cutaway instrument features a highly contoured body. There’s really nice ergonomics throughout, both on the top where you have the belly cut, then on the hand access point right here. You got a really nice shape that gives you easy access all the way up to the 22nd fret. 

There are 22 frets on this instrument and they boast extra jumbo, that’s right, extra jumbo, frets.  So these frets really offer a lot of substance, and you can sort of feel yourself dig in and they will last a lot longer as well from where due to their size. So it’s a really nice, just substantial feeling fretboard, while also having the thin C contoured neck. The guitar is just super comfortable. I’d say the neck is a bit on the thinner side and I’m finding it to be extremely comfortable to play with, not a full C shape, just a thin c.  Not quite as thin as some of those ultra thin necks either. It’s kind of striking a nice middle ground balance for me, in terms of comfort and playability.  I definitely prefer it to some of the larger size neck profiles, so the neck is extremely comfortable with 22 jumbo frets. 

You can’t forget this is a set neck construction, so the neck is set right into the body here.  While I’m on that topic, the neck is mahogany, neck body also mahogany, so mahogany wood used throughout, which is a denser tone wood. It yields really nice sounds but I think it balances beautifully with the contoured, somewhat thin low profile design of the guitar.  Overall it doesn’t feel heavy, it feels fairly lightweight even though it’s using a really rich tone wood.  

Onto the hardware, there is gold hardware on this particular instrument depending on which LEC-256 you’re looking at.  There are gold hardware options and silver to match the feel of the finish type that it’s being paired with, so this one’s got the two gold-covered humbuckers, a three-way selector switch for your mac bridge, and then in the middle.  It’s going to give you both pickups down to the controls we have two volume controls one for each pickup so each pickup has individually controlled volume, and then the third knob down here that’s the master tone knob, so that’s going to give you your tone control for both pickups at the same time. But it doesn’t stop there –  this tone knob is also a push-pull, and what that’s doing is coil tap, so these humbuckers have coil taps. So when you’re in the down position, it’s your standard humbucker. These are the ESP 150 humbuckers with coil taps.  When you pull this knob up, it clicks and now you have access to your single coil sound. Now it’s not strictly a single coil really what we’re doing is tapping into the humbucker to isolate a portion of it and get a more hum – less of a humbucker sound and start to get more into that single coil sound. 

The coil tap is doing a pretty convincing single coil style. The tone is definitely lightening up the sound a little bit.  I think adding a little bit more brightness overall, slightly less output,  so giving a lot of those main characteristics that you get from a single coil. Do I think that this is an exact replacement for a single coil pickup? Not quite, but it does offer a ton of tonal variety with all the different things that you can do with these two pickups.  You can then add the additional option to tap, to coil tap, or not to coil tap.  I find it really nice because of those reasons, this guitar can really cover a lot of ground musically.  I like the coil tap for playing lighter rock and jazz, any sort of instrument origin or sound that would call for a slightly brighter, more single coil-esque sound, and then you have all of the humbucking power and clarity by default with this with this knob turned down. In terms of the overall tonal characteristics of this guitar, it’s a really nice sounding, resonant body.  You know one thing that I like is that due to this neck construction, I really feel a lot of responsiveness just throughout the whole body even without being plugged in. It sounds good. 

That tells me that it’s the that’s the makings of a well-constructed instrument. It uses the right kinds of woods with the right construction style to give you just a really exceptionally resonant , high-sustaining guitar, so for those reasons, I think this guitar is really going to excel with any sort of music that would that would be considered slightly higher-output like rock, even classic rock. These pickups can do a lot with distortion.  I think it responds really nicely to a high-gain amp or distortion pedal for hard rock, even metal. These guitars have been extremely popular lately for those types of reasons.  It sounds amazing too. The pickup quality shouldn’t be overlooked on these guitars. They sound awesome, and on top of that, you’re getting some really nice features that make this guitar really stand out at the price point.  Again, a mid-range option, so this is not your beginner instrument – this is really kind of a step up. For me, this is a guitar that I find really nice to play, especially considering the shape of the neck. I love the shape of this neck and the jumbo frets, as well as the sound and the overall look and feel of this instrument. It’s super contoured, performs great. It’s got the triple layer binding on the body, binding on the neck all the way up through the headstock. 


REVIEW: Yamaha BB234 bass guitar

REVIEW: Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa

REVIEW: Dean MDX and Dean Thoroughbred X

Famous left-handed guitar players

Are you a left-handed guitarist? If you are, you’re in good company – some of the biggest guitarists in history are southpaws. 


Jimi Hendrix

“Jimi Hendrix Experience-‘You Got Me Floatin”-1967″ by scottallenonline is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The most famous left-handed guitarist of all time is Jimi Hendrix. Unable to find a left-handed guitar, Hendrix used a right-handed guitar and flipped it over, making some changes to the hardware and switching the strings to make it playable. 


Tony Iommi 

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is left-handed like his musical hero, Jimi Hendrix. Left-handed guitars were hard to come by in Iommi’s native England, so he played a right-handed Gibson SG upside down. Then, he met a person who played a left-handed guitar upside down, and the two decided to swap guitars. 


Paul McCartney 

The Beatle plays left-handed, although he’s not a true lefty. McCartney is right-hand dominant – however, when he started learning guitar, McCartney was unsuccessful playing right-handed. After seeing a picture of American country music artist Slim Whitman playing left-handed, he realized he could reverse the guitar. He told Guitar Player in 1990 that he can play right-handed, “only enough for parties”. 


Kurt Cobain

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was a natural lefty who was forced to write right-handed. He learned guitar left-handed, and eventually Fender made him left-handed Mustang guitars once the band hit it big. 


Albert King

One of the all-time great blues guitarists, Albert King was left handed and played with his guitar flipped upside down. 

Courtney Barnett

Australian indie rock artist Courtney Barnett plays guitar left-handed. She uses mostly left-handed guitars (low strings at the top, high strings at the bottom). 


Tim Armstrong 

Rancid/Operation Ivy frontman Tim Armstrong  is left-handed and has collaborated with Fender and Gretsch for models of left- and right-handed signature guitars. 

Otis Rush 

Blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Otis Rush was a lefty. He played guitars that were strung with the low E at the bottom. 


Want to learn to play guitar like Kurt Cobain?

Want to learn to play guitar like Kurt Cobain? 

Simply “Come As You Are” with your guitar and take the Kurt Cobain Player Study. This course will teach you Cobain’s signature, genre-defining style, including his use of power chords, pedal effects, and more. 


Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 to a family with a musical background – his uncle, Chuck Fradenburg, played in The Beachcombers. His aunt, Mari Earle, played guitar in local bands throughout Washington state. His great-uncle was an Irish tenor. 

Cobain developed a love of music at an early age. He reportedly started singing at two years old, and started playing the piano at age four, composing his first song – about a trip to a park. 

For his 14th birthday in 1981, Cobain’s uncle let him choose his gift – a bike or a used guitar. Cobain picked the guitar. He learned to play some songs by Led Zeppelin and Queen before starting to write his own songs. He played guitar left-handed, despite being forced to write right-handed. 

“[Repost] Kurt Cobain 19yrs from his gone. I still listen you. Rest in peace.. #kurtcobain #nirvana #5thapril #19yrs #1994 #kurt #cobain #rip” by Takeshi Life Goes On is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

As a teen, Cobain met  Roger “Buzz” Osborne, singer and guitarist of the Melvins, who introduced him to punk rock and hardcore music. He formed the band Fecal Matter after dropping out of high school, before meeting Krist Novoselic at The Melvins’ practice space. Novoselic eventually agreed to form a band with Cobain, the start of Nirvana. After putting out their debut album, Bleach, with drummer Chad Channing, the band dropped Channing in favor of Dave Grohl on drums for their 1991 album Nevermind. Nevermind’s lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, catapulted the band to fame. It brought the band to the mainstream and helped bring national attention to the grunge genre. 



Rather than playing with Eddie Van Halen-style speed or intricacy, Kurt Cobain mostly relied on power chords. He played on guitars tuned a whole- or half-step down, and most of his solos were plays on the song’s melody. 

His gear collection was eclectic and made up mostly of budget gear. For the Bleach recording sessions, Cobain had to borrow a Fender Twin Reverb as his main amp was being repaired. The amp’s speakers were blown, so he had to pair it with an external cabinet and two 12” speakers. He played Hi-Flier guitars that were $100 each. 

Cobain was playing an Epiphone ET270 at the start of their 1989 tour before destroying it on stage – as a result, their label would often have to call local pawn shops in the area to find replacements. Cobain’s first acoustic guitar cost $31.21 and the tuners were held together with duct tape, however, it sounded good enough that it was used to record “Polly” and “Something in the Way” on Nevermind. 

“[Repost] Kurt Cobain 19yrs from his gone. I still listen you. Rest in peace.. #kurtcobain #nirvana #5thapril #19yrs #1994 #kurt #cobain #rip” by Takeshi Life Goes On is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Cobain died in April 1994. He’s often referred to as the spokesman of Gen X for his angst-fueled songwriting. His songs also helped widen the themes of mainstream rock music to more personal reflection and social commentary, 

The 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar Cobain used for Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged performance sold for $6 million in June 2020, making it the most expensive guitar and piece of band memorabilia ever sold. Two years later, Cobain’s Lake Placid Blue Fender Mustang sold for $4.5 million, the second most valuable guitar ever sold. 

Once you capture Kurt Cobain’s signature style, put it to work with these Nirvana song lessons. 

Smells Like Teen Spirit
The lead single from Nevermind, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is considered the “anthem for apathetic kids” from Generation X.

Come As You Are

Cobain originally was reluctant to release “Come As You Are” as Nevermind’s second single due to its similarities to “Eighties” by Killing Joke, but when it was down to “Come As You Are” or “In Bloom”, they eventually went with “Come As You Are”.


About a Girl

Featured on Nirvana’s debut album Bleach, “About A Girl” was reportedly written after Cobain spent an afternoon listening to Meet the Beatles! on repeat. It debuted at an Evergreen State College dorm party in Feb. 1989.


Man Who Sold the World

What did David Bowie think of Nirvana’s cover of his 1970 song? 

“I was simply blown away when I found that Kurt Cobain liked my work, and have always wanted to talk to him about his reasons for covering ‘The Man Who Sold the World'” and that “it was a good straight forward rendition and sounded somehow very honest,” Bowie said. “It would have been nice to have worked with him, but just talking with him would have been real cool.”

All Apologies

The Fab Four played a role in the composition of this Nirvana song. According to Cobain’s manager Danny Goldberg, Cobain played “Norwegian Wood” over and over again for hours while writing the song. 

Five unique guitar body styles

Most guitars you see fit into a couple of main body types. However, some guitar manufacturers have gotten creative over the years, creating guitar bodies that break the mold. Here are five of the most unusual guitar body shapes out there.

Yamaha Revstar

The sleek style and vintage styling of this solid body guitar was inspired by the zippy Cafe Racer bikes of 1960s London.


Gibson Explorer 

“File:The Edge playing Gibson Explorer on Experience and Innocence Tour in San Jose 5-8-18.jpg” by Remy is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

This futuristic-looking guitar actually dates back to 1958. The first run of the guitar design wasn’t successful – it was discontinued in 1963. It was reissued in 1976 and became popular with hard rock and heavy metal musicians in the 1970s and 1980s.

Dean Cadillac 1980

Dean Guitars founder Dean Zelinsky started out building guitars based off of existing models that would be friendlier to heavy metal and hard rock guitar players. He created the “Cadillac” in the early 1980s, a body that looks a bit of Les Paul and a bit of Gibson Explorer. 

Gibson Flying V

“Jimi Hendrix’s Flying V Gibson Guitar” by Mike Cattell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Gibson Flying V was released the same year as the Gibson Explorer. Just like its sibling, the Flying V wasn’t popular in its initial run, selling less than 100 units. However, guitarists like Lonnie Mack and Albert King popularized it. In 1963, Gibson put out a small number of Flying Vs made of parts from the original run. It re-entered production in 1967.

BC Rich Warlock

“BC Rich Warlock” by Kolin Toney is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

With an undeniably “metal” design, the B.C. Warlock stands out amongst a sea of telecasters and Les Pauls. Company founder Bernardo Chavez Rico said in 1969 that he designed the guitar at a drafting table, using straight-edges and French curves. “At first I thought it was the ugliest guitar I’d ever designed,” Rico said. The edgy-looking guitar was popularized in the heavy metal movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

Guitar Maintenance 101

Just like a car, a guitar is a machine that needs regular maintenance to be at its best and last you a long time. 

Here are the basic maintenance steps you should be taking to keep your guitar looking and sounding beautiful! 



Guitars get exposed to a lot of oil and dirt from hands. To keep your guitar clean, wash your hands before playing it – even if they look clean! 

After you’re done playing, wipe off your guitar with a polishing cloth, giving a little extra love to the strings and hardware where your hands spend the most time. Keeping your strings clean will help them last longer. 

The guitar knobs can trap dust and sweat, which will eventually cause a scratching sound. Turn the knob back and forth to loosen the gunk if this happens. You can also use a contact cleaner spray if this happens. 



Being exposed to either heat or cold is bad for guitars. Extreme temperature changes can cause strings to go out of tune, or even cause the instrument to become warped. Store your guitar in a place where the temperature is moderate and the humidity is consistent (at 45 or 50 percent). Keeping the guitar stored in its case rather than on a stand or on the wall can help you regulate the guitar’s environment. 


Changing strings 

Not changing guitar strings frequently enough is one of the top mistakes new guitar players make.

The lifespan of your guitar strings depends on what type of strings you’re using, how often you play and where you play. As a rule of thumb, you should be changing your strings at least once every three months, or whenever they look or feel dirty or are losing tone. 

You should also be cleaning your strings regularly. 

Fretboard maintenance 

Whenever you change your strings, also give your fretboard a thorough cleaning. You can use a fretboard conditioner to keep it looking shiny. If your fretboard is made of maple, don’t use a conditioner as it can damage the finish – simply wipe it down with a microfiber towel. 


Keeping your guitar polished will make it look like it just came out of the box. Start by removing dust and fingerprints with a microfiber cloth, then spray the cloth with guitar polish and gently wipe down the guitar in circular motions. Don’t forget the back of the neck and the headstock. 

If your finish is natural, matte, or satin, don’t use polish and instead wipe the guitar down with a polish cloth. 

More maintenance 

Get step-by-step instructions on how to keep your guitar in top shape with this comprehensive guitar maintenance guide. 

This guitar maintenance checklist will help keep you on track.