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Frustrating Playing Issue


02R96

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I'm having a problem with switching between my acoustic and electric guitars.

 

The width of the acoustic is 1 3/4", while my Ibanez is 1 5/8". That little 1/8" difference totally throws me off. For example, I'll play the opening chords to "And You and I" by Yes on my acoustic (a Seagull S6 Spruce). Pretty simple right? But switch to the electric and my fretting goes to hell because sides of my fingers keep touching the adjacent strings. I feel like I have to crunch up my fingers and it's totally throws me off. This problem is on anything I play acoustic verses electric. On the acoustic it's easy; the electric much harder (unless I want to only play Smoke on the Water or Iron Man). My friend has shorter and fatter fingers than me and has no problems.

 

I can't seem to get the touch right. So what am I missing? I've been focusing on the obvious such as using the tips of my fingers, pressing straight down, and avoiding sideways movement; but I'm not improving.

 

The strings on my Acoustic are Martin Bronze Light 12/54 and the Electric are Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 10/46.

 

SO... With all that said how can I improve my playing on the electric? Besides technique issues, what else is there? Would stepping up to 11's on the electric help with side movement? What am I missing and doing wrong?

 

H E L P!

Dan

 

"I hate what I've become, trying to escape who I am..."

 

 

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I found that putting 11's on my electrics helped me with that problem, and I broke fewer strings on stage. If you have access to a bass guitar try adding it to the mix, my hands learned to adapt when I was teaching because I had a different instrument in my hands every half hour some days(including a nylon string acoustic). Way back in time I had a 12 string and I used to practise all my electric songs on it, then when I picked up the electric it felt like I could fly,

 

Jim

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I've said for years that the acoustic is a different instrument then the electric.

 

Although the have the same number of strings and are tunes the same, it still requires a period of practice to master each one.

 

In your case, you have developed the muscle memory for one instrument, but not the other. Practice and get your brain used to the chords on both instruments. Eventually you get to a point where there is no issues at all.

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In your case, you have developed the muscle memory for one instrument, but not the other. Practice and get your brain used to the chords on both instruments. Eventually you get to a point where there is no issues at all.

 

It's no magic instant solution, but I agree; and you can be encouraged that it DOES eventually work out with enough practice- it's just a matter of time, and effort, with perseverance. Don't let yourself get frustrated and discouraged.

 

And keep to the string gauges that you're already comfortable with; only change up- OR down- if you have other reasons to.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I played electrics exclusively for years, before adding some acoustics to the collection. I use 8's on all my electrics, and 10's on my acoustics, and have no switching issues. It's like driving a car vs an SUV - the basics are the same but the feel and ergonomics are different. If you're still seriously restricted to a couple of old rock songs that are no-brainers to play on electric, then you've yet to spread your wings. The problem is not gear or guage related. You just need to spend more time. Don't misunderstand my comments - we've all been where you are now. You could be an advanced acoustic player and still feel out of your element on your electric, but it will come.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Since I started playing, and then building guitars, for some reason people I know have started asking me questions about their kids starting out. They always want to start with the acoustic, and let them graduate into electric. (I believe mainly for loudness and less money)

I always encourage them to do the opposite. Electrics are by their very nature more fun to the ear, especially for young kids, and the fretboard is harder. (Unless the child is just bent on being an acoustic player, than that is where they should go.) So when they master the electric, let them try an acoustic and develop that second set of muscles. But by then, the more difficult is mastered.

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lightbulb.gif You might try practicing those acoustic moves on your electric with a capo at the 3rd or 4th fret or so, give or take a fret, then after a while moving it down one fret and practice there for a while, and so on, till you've gone to the 1st fret and then no capo at all; this will give you a wider string-spacing somewhat similar to that of your acoustic guitar at first, and gradually accustom you to that of the electric.

 

Just a thought.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Since I started playing, and then building guitars, for some reason people I know have started asking me questions about their kids starting out. They always want to start with the acoustic, and let them graduate into electric. (I believe mainly for loudness and less money)

I always encourage them to do the opposite. Electrics are by their very nature more fun to the ear, especially for young kids, and the fretboard is harder. (Unless the child is just bent on being an acoustic player, than that is where they should go.) So when they master the electric, let them try an acoustic and develop that second set of muscles. But by then, the more difficult is mastered.

 

That`s interesting-when this topic has come up for discussion in the past most people seem to think-and I tend to agree-that it`s better for

developing good technique to start on acoustic, for the same reason it`s better to play electric without a lot of effects and doodads for learning. That way the focus is on playing better rather than getting too caught up in sounds. Having said that I too started out playing electric. Besides being a fan of some types of acoustic music, I got fed up with having a herd of cats making every decision about where and when and what to play so I eventually branched out-one of the best decisions I ever made.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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No such thing as "electric parts" and "acoustic parts"- technique, approach, sure; different instruments dictate different playing, adjusting fingering, phrasing, all that.

 

But that's like saying "don't try to play trumpet, sax, or piano parts on a guitar; know the difference".

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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The neck width changes and string height on the different makes and models are the biggest challenges for me...but it only bugs me for a little while until I get used them...acoustic vs electric is more about the sound you are going for than the song you are playing IMHO...try taking a trip down to GC and play on different acoustic and electric models until you find a comfortable feel...you may solve your problem without a lot of woodshedding...
Take care, Larryz
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Thank you all for your ideas. I knew it would all come down o the "P" word. I feel like I've hit a plateau and need some help to move through it. Maybe a good dose of GAS would help. Actually that's a chronic problem here.

 

Dumb question: Wouldn't matching neck widths be the easiest solution? I know; that would lock me into those instruments. I priced a Warmoth neck for my Ibanez and it was 400 bucks (way more expensive then the whole guitar).

 

I better get off here and practice...

 

Dan

 

"I hate what I've become, trying to escape who I am..."

 

 

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Re: electric parts vs. acoustic parts:

 

Some parts work OK on both, but would most guys want to try bending two steps on an acoustic?

Some strums that are great on acoustic don't really work on electric because of the different sustain characteristics.

Etc.

 

Quoting Caevan:

But that's like saying "don't try to play trumpet, sax, or piano parts on a guitar; know the difference".

------------------

Well, no reason not to TRY them. Sometimes they work great, but they may not - especially if the guitarist is too literal about getting the exact same notes and phrasing. It's sort of like translating from French to English, in a way.

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Is the sound you're going for electric, acoustic or somewhere inbetween? Pick or no pick, pedals, amps, mic's etc. what is the sound you are going for?...some songs may sound good either way (ie. Clapton doing Layla)...but I agree with the concepts that it's easier to bend on electrics and acoustic strums sound better on acoustics...
Take care, Larryz
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I think the answer to the OP is to either practice both instruments more OR go out and get a LP-style guitar that has wider neck width.

 

And now for some random related thoughts....

 

For most of my guitar playing days I've stayed away from playing acoustic guitar... I always claimed it wasn't "loud enough". Give me a LP/Marshall anyday!!! Maybe was that scene from Animal House, where Bluto grabs the (acoustic) guitar from the "Bowl of Cherries" singing guy on the stairs and proceeds to bash it to pieces, that made me not want to be that guy! Most likely it was the fact that my acoustic had heavier strings and a higher action than my LP and therefore was harder to play.

 

Regardless, fast forward many years to the last couple of years... I've really started enjoying playing acoustic. For one, I feel I get a great workout and going back to the electric my fingers at least feel like they are flying.

 

Also, I like the idea of just grabbing the instrument and making music where ever I am. No need to be tied down to the room with the amp. I concentrate a bit more on the actual song instead of always working or tweaking my "tone" from the amp.

 

I also work in other tunings.. like open G and D. Some times slide but most times just strumming and/or fingerpicking.

 

Still working on perfecting Gregg Allman' Come and Go Blues.

 

 

 

 

"Spend all day doing nothing

But we sure do it well" - Huck Johns from 'Oh Yeah'

Click to Listen to Oh yeah

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Wouldn't matching neck widths be the easiest solution? I know; that would lock me into those instruments. I priced a Warmoth neck for my Ibanez and it was 400 bucks (way more expensive then the whole guitar).

 

I better get off here and practice...

 

Like I said before here, but maybe you missed (easy to do):

 

lightbulb.gif You might try practicing those acoustic moves on your electric with a capo at the 3rd or 4th fret or so, give or take a fret, then after a while moving it down one fret and practice there for a while, and so on, till you've gone to the 1st fret and then no capo at all; this will give you a wider string-spacing somewhat similar to that of your acoustic guitar at first, and gradually accustom you to that of the electric.

 

Just a thought.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I think there are 3 solutions...but none of them involve string gauge!

String heighth maybe but not gauge.

 

Practicing a more vertical fretting technique may help but there will regularly be musical parts that require your fingers to be in non-vertical positions.

 

Different models of guitars, whether ac. or elec., have different board widths.

(1) Experiment with various models (not just brands) to see which feel better.

(2) Play a lotta guitars regularly & you may gradually develop an adapted technique that automatically conforms to the various necks.

(3) If all else fails, determine what seems a good fit to you & either have such a neck fitted to a guitar you really like or have a custom, extra-wide neck made.

(Worked great for Kevin Eubanks!).

 

There's actually a 4th option: develop licks that take advantage of this situation.

One of my fave things is to play a note on one string & exaggerate the vibrato so that my fingernail hits the next lower string when it has a useful harmonic connection to the note I'm playing.

 

d=halfnote
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I play both acoustic and electric. I suck with nylon stringed guitars. But I will offer that recently because of the holiday here in Taiwan (Chinese New Year) my friend loaned me his strat, and a Line 6 toneport while he traveled back to the UK. Anyways. I haven't touched an electric in quite some time. When I played it I really felt alien. I sucked. I thought it was the guitars problem.

 

But after a few days of spending not more than 20 mins dicking around--I felt back to myself on electric. You know it felt totally natural again. The scale, the things necessary to control string noise, the attack on both hand hands, the overall approach.

 

 

I can play pretty much play any shred lick or bend/vibrato on my acoustic similar to electric. I can even do it on my 12 string. I mean about the vibrato or shred--not necessarily the bending. I could do the bending, but then--not much else.

 

Thats my thing. I think they are different animals--but very similar. If you practice both, you have an advantage of understanding both.

 

I can play some Van Halen riffs with conviction on my 6 string acoustic and they almost sound like Van Halen.

 

Because most of his tone is from the way he is playing. You know massive thump and control from both hands.

 

That is called control.

 

Dynamics are part of that. If you have control--you definitely have A LOT of strength. That comes from practice and time.

 

 

So practice more. You maybe are on a plateau, but practice will get you past it.

 

By the way I feel the same.

 

I think all guitarists feel stuck at certain points. I don't feel like I have improved much in the last few years where it counts for myself.

 

Just practice alot on both. Spend 1 day 20 mins on your electric.

 

and the next 20 min on your acoustic.

 

In 1 week--problem solved.

 

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