Welcome to RMMGA!

This is an informal weekly welcome message for the rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic (RMMGA) Usenet newsgroup. This is NOT the RMMGA FAQ. It describes the newsgroup, provides guidelines for posting, and includes pointers to the FAQ and to other online resources that address frequently-asked questions about acoustic guitars and those who play and build them.

The plain text version of this document is posted regularly to the newsgroup and is available on the World Wide Web at:

An HTML version, with all the URLs mentioned here included as active links, is available at:
This document was created in December 1996 and was last modified 24 Feb 2003.


What Is RMMGA?

Welcome to rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic, the Usenet newsgroup for discussion of all manner of things related to the acoustic guitar. It's hard to say "rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic" and even harder to type it quickly without making mistakes, so this newsgroup is affectionately known to its readers by its acronym: RMMGA.

If the computer program you are reading this document with has access to a news reader and a news server and can recognize web links, you can read and post to RMMGA by just clicking on this link: news:rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic. Otherwise, you'll have to get the appropriate software and learn how to configure and use it to join discussion on RMMGA. Contact your internet service provider for help with this. Please look over this document before joining the discussion.

RMMGA has its origins in an acoustic guitar players' email discussion list called "guit" started by Guy Snape and Kev Smith in January 1993. By the following summer, subscribership had grown to over 200, and subscribers felt the need to move to a more widely accessible public forum. After the required bureaucratic wranglings and a vote, RMMGA was born. For Guy's own brief recounting of the early history, read The Early History of RMMGA at

If you are interested in Usenet bureaucracy, you can read Guy's original Request For Discussion (RFD), the Call For Votes (CFV), and results of the voting in the Collected RMMGA Announcements on news.groups from July and August of 1993 at:

The RMMGA Charter

The official RMMGA charter, as it appeared in the CFV, is:
To provide a forum for the discussion of all aspects of acoustic guitar playing, including (but not limited to) technique, theory, instrument construction, recordings, performances etc.

Tablature for pieces written for acoustic guitar may also be posted: such posts should also be cross-posted to the other tablature groups.

The RMMGA FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions document) elaborates on it somewhat as follows:

This newsgroup is intended for the discussion of all matters pertaining to acoustic guitar. Common threads include, but are not limited to: Your guitar's construction, sound, setup, maintenance, worth, etc.; various acoustic guitarists, their music, setup, history, etc.; suggestions for reading material, videos, records, CDs, etc.; product reviews, show reviews, album reviews, etc.. You get the idea. If it's related to acoustic guitar, then chances are it's appropriate to discuss here.

There are specific news groups for classical guitar and instrument construction, but even those topics are sometimes discussed here. A quick look thru the current postings will give a pretty clear indication of what people discuss here, since the topics remain quite varied.

If you're a newcomer, please take the advice of the last paragraph seriously before posting to the newsgroup. Look at the current posts provided by your news server to get a sense of the type of discussion welcomed on RMMGA, and try to make sure your query is not a FAQ already dealt with in a recent RMMGA thread or in easily accessible online resources. The rest of this document provides pointers to resources that will help you determine this. As a bare minimum, please make at least some effort to verify you are not restarting a recent thread. You can search recent news postings from a variety of web sites listed below in the Search Engines and Directories section; a good starting place is Deja News at http://www.dejanews.com/.

Please note that the RMMGA Charter was written in 1993, when there was very little commercial use of the net. Indeed, this is true of most newsgroups, and it is thus unofficial Usenet policy to ask commercial entities to restrict commercial posting on discussion newsgroups (there are ".forsale" and ".marketplace" newsgroups that welcome commercial posts). If you are considering a commercial posting, please read the Guidelines for Commercial/For-Sale/For-Auction Postings at the end of this document. Personal "For Sale" and "For Auction" posts are welcome (they should be clearly identified with "FS" or "FA" in the subject), but read the aforementioned guidelines before posting.


PLEASE endeavor to follow the sensible, informal rules of "netiquette" when posting to RMMGA. Here are some simple guidelines that will help insure that your post gets read and that you don't get "flamed."

Learn "Netiquette"
If you are new to newsgroups, be sure to read a few of the documents in the New Usenet News Users Newsgroup, news.announce.newusers. Some of these documents are archived on the web; links to many of them are available at the news.announce.newusers FAQ list hosted by Ohio State University at

Read the FAQ
A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions document) includes answers to many frequently asked questions. Regular newsgroup readers in particular will appreciate it if you don't repeat a question that was dealt with, not only last week, but every week before that, too! The FAQ will also help you determine whether RMMGA is the appropriate newsgroup for your post. The RMMGA FAQ is described below. Descriptions of other newsgroups, and their FAQs, are available at the following sites:

Check the Web and News Archives
Look around the Web for answers to questions that seem as if they might be common. A list of good starting points is below. If you are new to the group, use a search engine to see if your query was recently dealt with. Several good ones are listed in the Search Engines and Directories section below. Deja News, in particular, lets you easily perform searches just of RMMGA postings (use their "Power Search" page).

Lurk Before You Post
Read the postings that appear on the newsgroup for a few days or a week, to get a sense of the dynamics of the group, but also to catch pointers to existing resources that may address your questions.

Use an Informative Subject
When you do post, make your subject line brief but informative. If your subject is "Guitar Question," it is likely that many will skip it. It is a common practice in many groups to use a few capital letters (often followed by a colon or in brackets) to identify the nature of a post, such as:

Keep Your Posts Brief
There are many posts a day on RMMGA, and many RMMGA readers read other newsgroups, too. Keeping your post brief will help make sure it gets read; it will also reduce the storage requirements of news servers and download times for those with slow modem links to their service providers. If you quote another post or email in your post (for exampe, if you are responding to another post), refrain from routinely quoting the entire post---mention only what is relevant. Also, keep your ".sig" (signature file) short.

Sign Your Posts
Make sure your name appears with your post. It needn't be your full name, but having a name (rather than just an email address) associated with your post helps humanize this computer forum. Many email and newsreader programs allow you to keep a ".sig" (signature) file that will automatically append your name and any other information (email address, homepage URL) to your posts. If you use this feature, keep your ".sig" short.

Avoid Crossposting
Crossposting is posting the same message to several different groups at once. An unfortunate consequence of crossposting is that most replies also get crossposted automatically, generating many copies of every message in the cross-posted thread. To keep traffic down, avoid crossposting unless absolutely necessary. If your query is relevant to several groups, consider posting it separately to those groups. You'll have to read all of them to catch all the answers, but you'll spare others the increased traffic.

Use email for personal messages
Limit news posts to messages of general interest to the community of RMMGA readers. Queries and messages directed to a single person are best dealt with via email.

Respect Others' Opinions
Most important of all, keep in mind that the posters and readers in RMMGA are people, not automatons. They have opinions and feelings. Where there is ambiguity about someone's tone or intentions, presume the best. Avoid flames; if you must flame someone, do it privately, by email! But consider first how you might feel as the recipient of your message. The few folks who enter this and other newsgroups with the intent to create strife ("flamers" or "trollers") are best dealt with by ignoring them. We're all tied together in RMMGA by a mutual love of six strings vibrating across a piece of wood; the posts in RMMGA hopefully reflect the sense of community so often associated with acoustic music.

Key Resources

RMMGA-Specific Resources


The RMMGA FAQ has been posted occassionally on RMMGA and is also available online in HTML at
or in plain text at
It was maintained by Grant Alvis, but has not been updated since 1994. Although parts of it are dated (particularly lists of online resources), much of the information remains valuable. It includes a list of other guitar-oriented newsgroups (in section 4). The Table of Contents follows.
  1. Recent Changes to the FAQ
  2. About This Document
  3. What is the rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic Newsgroups Charter?
  4. Where Can I Find Guitar Resources on the Internet?
  5. How Do You Describe the Sound of a Guitar?
  6. Tonewoods
  7. How Does a Guitar's Construction Affect Its Sound?
  8. Who Makes Top Quality Acoustic Guitars?
  9. Where Are the Most Famous Acoustic Guitar Stores?
  10. What is My Guitar Worth?
  11. Where Can I Get Instructional Material For Acoustic Guitar?
  12. What Are Some Good Beginners Books/Videos for Acoustic Guitar?
  13. Who Should I Listen To? (Great Acoustic Guitarists)
  14. What Books/Magazines Should I Read?
  15. What's The Best Way To Amplify My Acoustic Guitar?
  16. What Alternate Tunings Are There To Explore?
  17. Which Strings Should I Use?
  18. What is a Good Travel Guitar?
  19. What Types of Capos are Available?
  20. How Do I Take Care of my Hands and Nails?
  21. What Are Tape I, II, and Tape III?
  22. Acknowledgements

Who's Who at RMMGA

The most recent list providing info about RMMGA regular's is Chris Rockcliffe's Who's Where in RMMGA. This lists the names, countries, and cities of RMMGA participants who have submitted that info to Chris; email addresses are not included. The list is intended to facilitate local gatherings. Chris posts updates of the list to the newsgroup. A version as of May 2000 is available here:
Contact Chris at chrisrockcliffe@scripto99.demon.co.uk to add your name and location to his version.

Kirk Reiser, a regular participant on RMMGA, has maintained a Who's Who on RMMGA list, containing contact information of readers willing to correspond or get together for a jam session. There is an HTML version on the web at

Contact Kirk at kirk@speech.braille.uwo.ca if you'd like to add an entry for yourself. Kirk posts the updated list to RMMGA as his schedule permits.

In addition, Susan Jurist created an RMMGA photo gallery; it's now maintained by Tim Wampler and includes links to numerious RMMGA-related photo sites. You can find it at:


RMMGA Friends at MP3.Com

You can hear the guitar work of some RMMGA participants by downloading MP3 audio files from this MP3.Com web site:


In 2000 Tim Wampler, an RMMGA regular, had the great idea of grabbing the "rmmga.org" domain name and using it to collect links and information about activities of RMMGA participants, such as the CD projects. You'll find all that and more at:

Guitar Information Sources

The following sites archive information of interest to guitarists, including such things as tablature and chord charts, instructional material, software, and equipment descriptions and reviews. The Acoustic Guitar Homepage focuses on material for acoustic guitarists (surprise!); the other sites contain information for both electric and acoustic players.

OLGA: The On-Line Guitar Archive

If you're looking for one-stop "shopping" for free guitar music, software, and information, the single best location is the On Line Guitar Archive, another resource known affectionately by its acronymn, OLGA. It is currently maintained by Cal Woods and Adam Schneider. It was once known as the Nevada Archive, due to its original location at the University of Nevada; but the Nevada location has been shut down, and the OLGA archive is now mirrored at several sites around the world. Its new name (due to Adam) rightly reflects its purpose rather than its location.

OLGA is a directory-based archive originally accessible only by FTP. However, some mirror sites now provide Web-based browsing and searching capability. OLGA is currently under legal attack by EMI, so mirror sites are frequently closing and moving. The best place to find information on the current status of OLGA and its mirrors is the OLGA Home Page at


If you are looking for acoustic music at OLGA, keep in mind that the acoustic guitar music archive (maintained by Dean Gaudet) is separate from the general music archive (it is in the "acoustic" directory). It is a good idea to search for acoustic songs in both the general and acoustic sections.

Harmony Central

Harmony Central, at
is "An Internet Resource for Musicians" of all types, not merely guitarists. However, its maintainer, Scott Lehman, mostly plays guitar, and thus this site's Guitar Resources section is first-rate. It includes a web interface to OLGA mirrors allowing searching or browsing for tablature, as well as collections of instructional material, guitar software, gear descriptions and reviews, FAQs on musical topics, manufacturer listings, etc.. It also includes a Classified Ads section.

Musi-Cal: Music Calendar Database

Musi-Cal, located at
is the place on the web to get concert information. You can search Musi-Cal by performer, date, geographic location, genre, etc. (e.g., "every folk concert within 100 miles of Ithaca for the next 2 weeks"); you can even specify automated periodic queries that get sent to you by email. There are several other concert databases on the web, but Skip Montanero, who maintains Musi-Cal, has made a special effort to work with acoustic artists and their agents to ensure that Musi-Cal's acoustic database is complete and that its interface is easy and informative. It is also a good place to locate artist and venue web pages. Performers and their agents will find detailed instructions for posting itineraries at the site, and Skip is generous in providing personalized assistance.


The folkmusic.org web site at
is the place on the web to find out about contemporary singer/songwriters performing acoustic music, and about venues, labels, magazines, and radio stations that support such music. This site hosts web pages for a number of acoustic artists, and also has links to web pages for hundreds of other acoustic artists. It also hosts links to many other resources of potential interest to acoustic guitarists, particularly those interested in traditional and contemporary folk music, including links to venues, radio station lists, periodicals, festivals, etc.. Hint: If you are looking for an artist's web site, you can try the search engine on the "Artists" page, but it only uses the Musi-Cal index. Many other pages are accessible if you click on the "Browse" button.

The Acoustic Guitar Homepage

Grant Alvis, who has maintained the RMMGA FAQ, has also maintained this web site at
Archived here is the FAQ, the "Who's Who on RMMGA" directory, and a useful collection of informative posts (dating through 1994) including some instructional material, discussion of instrument properties, lists of guitar mail order companies, and lists of Martin and Gurian serial numbers. Grant can no longer maintain this site, so some resources may be out of date.

Jump Sites/Portals/Directories

Most of the links at a "jump site" take you to net destinations other than the one hosting the site. They thus serve primarily as directories, rather than as archives of information. The two jump sites listed below also happen to archive significant amounts of information, but the vast majority of the many hundreds of links you'll find at each site will lead you elsewhere on the net. There are dozens of guitar jump sites on the web. These two sites are among the most comprehensive and are the ones most focused on acoustic guitar; both include links to many other jump sites. The Harmony Central information site described above also includes an extensive collection of links.

Guitar Notes by Jason Nieh

Jason Nieh's Guitar Notes site, at
is probably the most comprehensive and best-organized guitar jump site on the web. It is compact, providing only the title for each link. It is thus an ideal place to start from if you know where you want to go but just need to quickly locate the link, or if you'd like to spend lots of time browsing lots of resources. It covers both electric and acoustic resources, but Jason is an avid acoustic player and teacher, and it appears he has strived to make the acoustic coverage of Guitar Notes particularly comprehensive. You can add new links to this site via web forms at the site, or by writing to Jason Nieh at nieh@guitarnotes.com.

AG: Acoustic Guitarists' Annotated Guide to the Internet

This site, "AG" for short (whether it stands for "Acoustic Guitar" or "Annotated Guide" is left for the reader to decide!), is maintained by the compiler of this document and can be found at
It provides a categorized index of links and original resources focused on the acoustic guitar, including those guitar resources that may be of equal interest to acoustic and electric players (such as most instructional material). It complements Guitar Notes in that it is annotated: almost every link includes a brief description of what you'll find. It thus takes longer to navigate around than Guitar Notes, but may save you time by providing basic information about a site without you having to actually visit it. This site also includes extensive archived information on acoustic guitar amplification and alternate tunings, as well as numerous collected RMMGA postings on frequently-asked questions. It also archives this document. If you find or author a site that you think should be included at AG, send the URL and a brief description to Tom Loredo at loredo@spacenet.tn.cornell.edu.

General Search Engines and Directories

The following search engines may help you locate information on the net relevant to a query you are considering posting to RMMGA. Most allow you to search either for web sites or for recent Usenet postings; those that allow Usenet searches may prove particularly useful in determining if the topic of your post was recently addressed on RMMGA.

The web search engines above attempt to automatically catalog almost everything on the web. Complementing them are topical directories that instead consist of a searchable subject index of links specifically submitted to the directory for listing in a particular category. Though their web coverage is not as comprehensive as that of the search engines listed above, their annotated, topical nature can make them more useful for many types of queries. Foremost among the topical directories is Yahoo! at:

A good starting place for guitarist exploration at Yahoo! is their "Guitar" resource listing at:
Yahoo! also provides a collection of links to literally hundreds of other search and directory sites at their "Searching the Web" page at:

Guidelines for Commercial/For-Sale/For-Auction Postingss

The RMMGA Charter was written in 1993, when there was very little commercial use of the net. The Charter specifically describes the newsgroup's purpose as being a forum for discussion, with no mention of commercial activity. An informal poll of the newsgroup in late 1996 revealed that the vast majority of RMMGA readers want to interpret this aspect of the Charter as implying restrictions on commercial use of the newsgroup. Indeed, this is true of the vast majority of newsgroups, most of which were chartered under similar circumstances.

Because of the non-commercial tradition of Usenet, it is broad Usenet policy to ask commercial entities to restrict commercial posting on discussion newsgroups (there are many ".forsale" and ".marketplace" newsgroups where such advertising is welcome). This policy is most clearly stated and explained in the Advertising on Usenet document, regularly posted in the New Usenet News Users Newsgroup, news.announce.newusers, and also available on the web at

Those considering using RMMGA or other Usenet newsgroups for commercial purposes are strongly encouraged to read this document.

As a brief summary of how RMMGA readers see this policy applying to RMMGA, commercial posters are encouraged to observe the following guidelines:

Personal "For Sale" and "For Auction" Posts
Posts listing used items for sale or auction by individuals are acceptable; sale or auction posts from retailers/businesses are not. Please place "FS: " at the beginning of the "Subject:" of your post if you are selling the item directly, and "FA: " if you are selling it via an auction site such as eBay. Avoid posting a sales notice more than once a week, and do not post multiple notices for a single auction. If you are selling many items, please restrict your RMMGA posting to only those items of direct interest to acoustic guitarists. "For Sale" and "For Auction" posts for other musical items or services should be posted to rec.music.makers.marketplace. Consider posting your sale or auction notice only to that newsgroup, even if it is primarily of interest to acoustic guitarists, in order to focus RMMGA resources on discussion posts.

Performers' Itineraries and Announcements
Posts of the performing itineraries of individual artists, or announcements of new recordings from individual artists, are welcome. It is in the best interest of performers and their audiences alike that itineraries also be posted to the Musi-Cal web site, described above.

Announcements of Commercial Web Sites
Posts providing the URL for a new commercial web site of interest to acoustic guitarists, or announcing substantive changes in an existing commercial web site, are welcome. Please describe the site and its purpose; do not merely post the URL. Please do not repeat such a post more than once. Also, do not crosspost such posts, so that replies from other newsgroups do not get copied to RMMGA. Consider submitting your URL to the administrators of Guitar Notes and the Acoustic Guitarists' Annotated Guide described above; both sites maintain categorized lists of links to commercial sites at no charge.

Advertisements of Products or Services
RMMGA readers are genuinely interested in learning of new products and services for acoustic guitarists. But posts whose sole purpose is the advertisement of a product or service for sale by a business have traditionally not been welcomed on RMMGA, except when posted by business representatives who have a history of participation in general discussion on the newsgroup. The appropriate Usenet forum for unsolicited commercial posts related to musicians is rec.music.makers.marketplace.

These guidelines may seem somewhat restrictive, but note that there exists a newsgroup dedicated solely to the sale and trade of music equipment and services: rec.music.makers.marketplace. There are also several web sites that cater to the sale of such goods and services; use the web site directories listed above to find them.

As in the off-line world, the best way to develop business is to develop a good reputation. If you run or are part of a commercial enterprise that serves acoustic guitarists, your best on-line "advertisement" is likely to be active, useful participation in RMMGA discussions, both those related to your business and those unrelated to it. Feel free to describe your business in response to relevant queries, or to include your business URL in your signature (.sig file) in any of your posts. Just avoid making unsolicited advertisements that give the impression that you are treating the newsgroup simply as a billboard.

RMMGA is an unmoderated newsgroup, and neither the guidelines of the Charter nor the guidelines for commercial use can be officially enforced. But be forewarned that longtime and new RMMGA readers alike are protective of the noncommercial nature of the group. Those whose posts do not adhere to the spirit of the guidelines of the charter or the commercial guidelines are likely to receive complaints, publicly, privately, or via their net postmaster. This is more likely to hurt business than to help it.


Many RMMGA readers contributed to this document, wittingly or unwittingly! Special thanks to Chifuru "Chief" Noda for some concrete suggestions that led to the creation of the "Netiquette" section, and to Jim Dalin, Michael Horsch, George Kaschner, Brian Miller, Al Sato, and many other RMMGA readers for words of advice, suggestions, and encouragement about this resource. Thanks also to the many "webslaves" who maintain the resources listed above for making quality information easily available online, and to Guy Snape and Ken Warwick for starting it all!

This document is maintained by Tom Loredo, who also runs the AG web site mentioned above.

Peace to you!

Tom Loredo / loredo@spacenet.tn.cornell.edu