Keith Urban laughs as he remembers his first guitar, a gift from his parents when he was just six years old. “It had these strings that sat crazy high up,” he says. “Way too high. I had to press down so hard, I could barely make a sound.”
Eager to spare others such a painful introduction to the instrument and share his love of playing guitar, the four-time GRAMMY® Award winner has joined forces with Yamaha to create a one-of-a-kind experience: URBAN Guitar by Yamaha, which includes a finely crafted guitar, essential accessories and an interactive lesson app, all of which were designed with the beginner guitarist in mind.
The URBAN Guitar by Yamaha features a concert cutaway body and a thin neck that is shorter in scale than a standard acoustic guitar, providing lower string tension for ease of playing.
“I think acoustic guitar is a great way to start learning,” Urban says, “because you can play it anywhere, plus it’s super-light. But a lot of people struggle to get their hands around the neck — I know I did when I first started playing. So the neck on the URBAN Guitar is very slim from front to back, and the strings are very close to the fretboard, so you don’t need to press very hard to make a sound. All the things I struggled with on my first guitar have been taken into account with this design. That’s why this is such a perfect beginner guitar.”
The URBAN Guitar by Yamaha sports a beautiful spruce top with a tobacco brown sunburst finish, a natural wood matte neck and rear body finish, an Indian rosewood bridge and a tortoise-shell pickguard. It even comes with a custom URBAN Guitar strap and picks.
The URBAN Guitar by Yamaha comes with a robust lesson app that provides step-by-step instruction curated by Keith, alongside JUNO, a professional guitarist and teaching partner. Together they offer inspiration and encouragement, along with the URBAN Guitar app’s cutting-edge features that keep players engaged and looking forward to their next lesson. Users can learn up to 14 songs, including modern hits (i.e., “All of Me” made famous by John Legend), timeless classics (i.e., “Ain’t No Sunshine” made famous by Bill Withers), and Keith’s hits (i.e., “Long Hot Summer” and “One Too Many”). The entire app is unlocked with the purchase of an URBAN Guitar.
Beginning guitarists can dive right into learning chords and playing their favorite songs, with the app providing real-time feedback on fingering, accuracy and timing; there’s also an interactive strumming trainer for mastering strumming and rhythm patterns.
“I don’t remember the first song I ever learned,” says Urban, “but I remember the feeling of making that first chord.
“There’s this thing about learning guitar, when you have that breakthrough ‘a-ha’ moment,” he explains. “Maybe it’s just putting the finger positions together to make that first chord. The next breakthrough moment comes when you’re able to put two chords together and go back and forth between them. That’s when you really feel like you’re gaining traction, you’re getting the hang of it. That’s when you begin to bond with the guitar.”
“Learning to play an instrument is like learning a language,” Keith adds. “You meet somebody else that plays, and suddenly they’re speaking the exact same language that you speak, so you have something in common, this shared way of communicating.”
“There are so many people who don’t have a way to communicate certain things, certain feelings. For me, early on, the guitar was this voice I could say things with that I couldn’t say verbally because I was too shy; I was a bit insular. But the guitar and me, the two of us together, we became friends — really good, tight, solid friends. It went everywhere with me, we were together all the time, and as I learned how to play it, my life became bigger and more colorful, plus I felt more confidence, which was a big breakthrough for me.”
Perhaps it’s time to begin your journey. Check out the URBAN Guitar by Yamaha, available on Amazon.