Debunking 7 Common Guitar Myths

by | Dec 5, 2017 | Uncategorized

This guest post comes to us via Ha Mocani, a guitar enthusiast.

In this post, you’ll learn about seven myths that tend to get propagated over and over.

If you think you have what it takes to contribute to the HQ, you can view our guidelines here.

Now, here’s Ha!

Choose any field or topic, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. This, however, doesn’t stop them from spreading misinformation to an audience that’s even less backed with knowledge.

These people don’t care to fact-check their narrative. They’re just interested in the five minutes of fame they’ll receive when beginners who don’t know better think they’re getting good information.

This is how myths get started. I’m going to debunk a few of them right now.

1. Don’t Remove All Strings from the Guitar at the Same Time

There’s this myth that you shouldn’t remove all the strings at the same time when you’re re-stringing your guitar. This is, of course, false; pay attention when you take your guitar to a tech – most will take the strings off to get proper access to the frets.

So long as it’s done gradually, nothing bad can happen when taking all of them off at the same time. Now, what could be dangerous is cutting the strings while they are tuned to pitch. The immediate drop in tension can cause serious harm to the instrument, and can also result in injury.

While removing all the strings at once, you can even save time if your guitar has a floating bridge. If you maintain as much tension as you can in the re-stringing process, it will be easier to balance the spring tension.

2. Electric Guitars Have Bad Grounding

I came across this guy saying that his guitar has a bad humming noise and it stops when he touches the strings, so he claimed that the guitar was not grounded properly. It’s funny how wrong this is; this is in fact a sign that the guitar is grounded properly.

The human body creates electricity naturally, and if the guitar is not properly grounded, touching any metal part of it would cause the noise to amplify. If the humming noise is reduced when touching the metal components of the guitar, it’s a clear sign that it’s grounded properly.

If you find the guitar to have a worse hum than another one, it probably has a problem with shielding, not with grounding. It is amplifying electrical noises from the outside of the circuit of the guitar.

To fix this shielding problem, you can use higher quality cabling, better pots, and wiring. You can even try rimming the electronics compartment with foil, but that can be a lot of work, and you probably won’t get rid of the noise completely.

3. A Nitro-Finished Guitar Sounds Better Than a Poly-Finished Guitar

I don’t even know who came up with this. Did he even have two of the same guitar with different finishes?

Some people do argue that poly reduces the resonance of the guitar more than the nitro, but to me, that just doesn’t make sense; it might make sense of the guitar in question was acoustic. Acoustic guitars rely on the wood they’re made from and the way it vibrates, but an electric guitar is in no way dependent on the wood or the finish.

The only thing that finish can change is the look, the feel and the conservation of the guitar, nothing more.

4. To be a Great Guitarist, You Must be Born with Natural Ability

Now, this sounds more insulting than funny, honestly. Would LeBron James be a good NBA player without practicing? Of course not. This is possibly the easiest thing to debunk, and probably every great guitar player would agree that you need to invest a serious amount of time into practice to become great.

Sure, some people have more sense for rhythm and music than the others, but that won’t mean anything if the “talented” person doesn’t practice as much. Dedication is the most important matter to become a great and known guitarist.

There are also a lot of other different factors, for example, many insanely good guitarists never even became famous because they fail to build a fan base or industry connections. Some just achieve a degree of YouTube glory and never go further, and I’ve seen plenty of skilled people there.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you must dedicate your life to the instrument.

5. Your Tune-o-Matic Bridge is on Backwards

This is possibly the most common topic for a debate between guitarists. When you look at the bridge, the screws are on one side only. And the argument is always about which side the screws should be facing for the bridge to be set correctly.

And the answer is simple; it doesn’t even matter.

There is no set direction in which the bridge should face. It should be placed the way it makes the most sense on a guitar. Set it that way so the screws are reachable, and you can intonate properly.

What is important to consider is the break-angle of the string. If the break is so great that the string touches the screw, turn the bridge around.

6. To Play in a Rock Band, You Need a 100W Stack Amplifier

Well, sure, if you have a completely sold-out stadium for your gig. You don’t need that much power at all when playing the bar circuit. Also, don’t forget – two times as much wattage does not mean twice as much volume. To double the human ear’s perception of volume, it takes 10 times the output power.

If you want your 50W amp to be a twice as loud, you would need a 500W, not a 100. A 30 – 50W amp will be more than enough to play in a bar.

7. Using Fatter Strings Gives You a Better Tone

It would be better to say that you get a different tone with thicker string, not a better tone.

There are a lot of great players and bands that use different kinds of strings, so there is no universal formula for string girth to get a better tone. It matters only what you like best, and how you use it.

For example, Zak Wylde uses super thick gauge strings, James Hetfield uses .009, Edward Van Halen also, but Jimmy Page prefers .008. It all comes down to personal preference.


There’s seven myths debunked. Be sure to put the people who spread lies in their place. But be gentle; they’re plenty insecure already, and they won’t be happy when someone corrects them.