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Guitar guys... help!


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#1 Gumbo Leviathan

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 06:45 AM

I feel like a terminal beginner-intermediate player.  I am trying to get better but I don't have a ton of available practice time.  That said, when I have time I do my best to maximize it.  I bought a few online lesson packages and they have been helping.  I can rip out songs using power chords like crazy, but I struggle with doing "cowboy chord" songs, or anything with single-string stuff.  I am working on it however. 

 

Anyway the point of this post is an issue right now is one of equipment. I have a Mexican-made Fender Strat.  It's a nice guitar.  However when I pick up one of my wife's acoustics, I feel like I have zero ability to play anything at all.  The guitars are too "fat" for me to comfortably hold, and the strings too stiff for me to be able to really make chords that don't buzz, let alone bend anything.  I can grab full barre chords on my Fender and make them all ring out, but on the acoustics that feel almost impossible for some reason.  

 

I seem to have more time to practice when I am out of town and at my mountain cabin.  As such I was hoping I could use an acoustic for portability.  But I struggle to play them.  Is there such a thing as an acoustic guitar that has lighter gauge strings and isn't quite as "fat" in the body?  I am not trying to fill an area with sound.  I just want something I can take places and still play.  I realize clearly I wouldn't have the range of sounds I can get out of my amp, but it would be nice to just be able to play while I am away from home.  Does something like this exist?  I mean, I guess I could keep practicing to get better with the big fat acoustics, but even then I would want something with a cutout to reach the higher frets, and the acoustic guitars my wife has don't have that feature.  

 

I always hate going to guitar stores and try to play anything.  It always seems embarrassing since I can't quite really play anything useful beyond some power chord rock stuff, so it's hard to evaluate a guitar while a salesman is there watching


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#2 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:01 AM

Use lighter strings until you are used to the higher tension on an acoustic

You could go for a smaller acoustic like a OOO, OM, baby Taylor, or parlor that has a shorter scale length (less tension). You sacrifice tone for playability.

Also make sure the set ups are proper on the acoustics. No one likes high strings.

Last, if you still feel like a wuss, do finger and grip strength training. Just remember to leave the chalk and go for lube when you're jerkin the gerkin.
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#3 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:06 AM

FWIW I have light gauge strings on my larrivee parlor.
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#4 TonyBrown

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:12 AM

I agree with what a Schwanz wrote, OM is a nice size.

Largely you’ll sacrifice sound to get the lower tension and size you’re talkin about. The massive dreads and jumbos are just fvcking huge and cumbersome but they sound great
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#5 bdutton

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:31 AM

Ovation celebrity is a nice sized and sounding guitar. Narrow neck and built in tuner makes it perfect for me. Similar size neck as my epi les paul.
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#6 Howie

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:11 AM

There are all kinds of guitars available with different body and neck sizes

Remember that different sized acoustics are generally intended for different uses. Yes, that OM size might be smaller body, but it’s intended for finger style, and the neck and string spacing will actually be wider than a big dreadnought that’s intended for strumming and flatpicking

“New” acoustic guitars are notoriously hard to play. They’re often set up with high action and heavy strings so they sound awesome in the store

Many people don’t understand that acoustics almost always need a setup. New or used, any “new to me” acoustic guitar gets a trip to my luthier - I consider that part of the cost of buying the instrument

Find something that feels comfortable In the hand and body, then take it to a tech who can set it up with lighter strings and lower action

Edited by Howie, 05 July 2020 - 08:13 AM.

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#7 BlackBeerd

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:21 AM

I too emphasize the set up being well done. If you are having that hard of a time with the acoustic, the set up is off.


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#8 Genesee Ted

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 10:13 AM

Schwanz has good advice. I was gonna say the same thing about parlor guitars. Another thing to try is a classical/nylon string guitar.

That being said, electric guitars and acoustic guitars play so differently in general. Practice more with the acoustic and it will be easier. Learning to play cowboy chords and applying them into bar chords (CAGED system) will open up all sorts of seemingly unconscious understanding of melody and harmony.

Acoustic guitars are a great way to build up strength but you can do the same with heavier gauge strings on your electric too. Right now I play 11s on my Strat. Super rich tone but you’ll wear your hands out sooner. Treat it like your triathlons.

Also hear the instrument and work with that. They all sing differently. Don’t try to force it. Play more simply and let the notes ring. That’s where acoustic instruments shine. Electric guitars are so different. Amps and effects greatly change your approach.

#9 Beejus McReejus

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:06 PM

Agreed on what's been said, but also just practicing more on that acoustic and getting used to it and developing those hand muscles.
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#10 Gumbo Leviathan

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 03:17 PM

I found my solution... I popped into my local music store to have a look around and saw this Ibanez electric-acoustic:

 

9yilcAa.jpg

 

3P0R6Qa.jpg

 

It is almost as "thin" as my Strat, which makes it easy for me to reach over it.  I can actually play this without struggling around a giant guitar body.  It sounds decent too.  And since it has a pickup (and my amp has an "acoustic" setting) it even sounds great amplified.  

 

So today was a NGD for me :D


Ovation celebrity is a nice sized and sounding guitar. Narrow neck and built in tuner makes it perfect for me. Similar size neck as my epi les paul.

I tried one of these at the store and the shape didn't quite work for me.  And the action was a bit too high.  


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#11 Gumbo Leviathan

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 03:39 PM

Also this built in tuner is awesome.  Every guitar should have this haha


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#12 Howie

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 04:31 PM

I can actually play this without struggling around a giant guitar body.



How big a boy are ya?
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#13 Zaphod_Beeblebrox

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 04:39 PM

I have that Ibanez acoustic, it is the bees knees. Love the built in tuner.

It is currently living in my son's bedroom. He figured out that bands he likes...5 seconds of summer etc use only a few easy chords so he is currently strumming away.
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#14 bdutton

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 04:50 PM

I found my solution... I popped into my local music store to have a look around and saw this Ibanez electric-acoustic:

9yilcAa.jpg

3P0R6Qa.jpg

It is almost as "thin" as my Strat, which makes it easy for me to reach over it. I can actually play this without struggling around a giant guitar body. It sounds decent too. And since it has a pickup (and my amp has an "acoustic" setting) it even sounds great amplified.

So today was a NGD for me :D

I tried one of these at the store and the shape didn't quite work for me. And the action was a bit too high.


Nice looking guitar!
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#15 BlackBeerd

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:02 PM

I have that Ibanez acoustic, it is the bees knees. Love the built in tuner.

It is currently living in my son's bedroom. He figured out that bands he likes...5 seconds of summer etc use only a few easy chords so he is currently strumming away.

Starting a life long obsession. While it can be expensive, it's still cheaper than girls. 


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#16 Genesee Ted

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:02 PM

Also this built in tuner is awesome. Every guitar should have this haha

There’s one in my phone and one in my pedalboard, plus my clip on one. Redundancy accomplished

#17 Gumbo Leviathan

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:05 PM

How big a boy are ya?

 

5'7", 150lbs. I am not a big guy.  And I kinda think my arms are shorter than "normal" for my height.  (I have various reasons for believing this including having a professional bike fit done and winding up with a really strange setup)


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#18 BlackBeerd

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:06 PM

There’s one in my phone and one in my pedalboard, plus my clip on one. Redundancy accomplished

Incredibly, I had the guitar tuner app on my iPhone tested against a certified tone generator (at the hospital during a hearing test) and it was with in 1%. 


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#19 Gumbo Leviathan

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:06 PM

There’s one in my phone and one in my pedalboard, plus my clip on one. Redundancy accomplished

 

To be fair I usually use a phone app to tune.  And I have a clip-on somewhere around here


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#20 BlackBeerd

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:10 PM

5'7", 150lbs. I am not a big guy.  And I kinda think my arms are shorter than "normal" for my height.  (I have various reasons for believing this including having a professional bike fit done and winding up with a really strange setup)

I am currently developing a line a guitars that will fit you perfect. I'm going to market them towards female players, but if a guitar fits you, it fits. Colors, paint and graphics can make a guitar appeal to whatever someone's visions, interests and persona are. 


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