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Transitioning from instrument to instrument


Fred_C

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If I play one instrument exclusively for a period of time and then transition to another guitar, I experience problems. I sound tentative and sloppy until I get used to the 2nd instrument's particular playing characteristics.

 

I'm fairly certain that this is due to differences in neck radii, neck shapes, string spacing, etc.

 

Do you gents experience this same problem?

If you play cool, you are cool.
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Any guitars with a really flat fretboard always feel odd to me. But going between strat/Gibson guitars or close knockoffs don't bother me. Even picking up my daughter's mini-strat feels ok.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I sometimes get in trouble transitioning between instruments with cuts to those without. I'll be playing a song, slide up the neck to hit a high chord and *WHACK*- I can't go any further because my hand is smacking the body.

 

Since i mostly compose & practice on electrics, it usually happens when I'm playing on a couple of different acoustics I own.

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I have 4 electric guitars and one acoustic (rarely used acoustic) I use each electric guitar 1 day and go to the next and rotate through all four guitars before using the first one again. I also have three practice sets of my original tunes in backing tracks so it takes me 12 practice days to completer that rotation, on the 13th day I use the 1st guitar on the first set. Before I sold my 2 Gibsons, I also incorporated those into the rotation. I never but never feel a bit of transition because I use all of the instruments regularly.I could take any one of them out if I ever perform live again with the utmost confidence in the guitar and my ability to use it vs any of the others.

 

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I have 4 electric guitars and one acoustic (rarely used acoustic) I use each electric guitar 1 day and go to the next and rotate through all four guitars before using the first one again. I also have three practice sets of my original tunes in backing tracks so it takes me 12 practice days to completer that rotation, on the 13th day I use the 1st guitar on the first set. Before I sold my 2 Gibsons, I also incorporated those into the rotation. I never but never

feel a bit of transition because I use all of the instruments regularly.I could take any one of them out if I ever perform live again with the utmost confidence in the guitar and my ability to use it vs any of the others.

 

Hey DBM,

 

Good insight and good advice. Clearly, what I need to do is to rotate instruments as you do. Thanks!

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For some reason I can move from a tele to a Les Paul or Gretsch easily - but need to put in at least 1/2 hour to go the other way. Maybe due to small hands and the neck scale. Moving from acoustic (Seagull Artist model) to any electric is bad news for the first hour if I'm playing lead - pull sharp with the lighter strings.

 

Am ok playing alone but with a full band in the heat of the moment is when it shows the most. Also moving from the Les Paul to an SG I overshoot due to the neck which joins in a different place - feels like it has too many frets.

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I only have one electric, a Les Paul, and when I pick up a telecaster, it feels so incredibly big, and I look at the fretboard and it just seems way too far away. I'm lost on the neck and can't find the frets I'm looking for. I'm sure I could get used to it, but it's just a lot different from my LP.
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The only real probs I've had recently was due to the fact that I played 34" scale fretted instruments, but my fretless was 35". This lead to tentative intonation and I eventually fixed it by going to a 34" scale instrument.

 

G.

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No electrics here. My transition issues are a bit different. When switching from my six string to my 12, it takes a few minutes to orient due to neck size difference and such, but if I start OUT with the 12, then switch to the six, the six seems easier to play.

Whitefang

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The hardest switch for me is from guitar to electric bass. That feels kind of weird at first, like I've lost two strings and gained a few inches of fretboard. Among my electrics, the only one that feels really different from the others is my Epi DOT - the body feels wider than it really is, and that takes a bit of adjustment. I have one 24-fret guitar, the PRS SE, and while I enjoy having those extra notes on the neck, I don't find myself looking for them when I go back to my SG's or my Freeway. FWIW, I don't have another Strat-style guitar, just the Freeway, and nothing that even resembles a Tele. The DOT is the closest thing I have to a big Jazz guitar.

 

Among my three acoustics, I definitely notice the differences. The Ovation feels more like an electric guitar, with the cutaway and the super-shallow bowl. The MIJ Alvarez 6-string is a nice, Martin-style dreadnought, and it's my favorite beater guitar. I've had it for over 25 years, drag it any and everywhere, and it never complains, proof that a well-made guitar doesn't have to be a delicate instrument. My Alvarez 12-string takes a few moments to adjust to, even if it's the first guitar I pick up - too many years of long skinny necks, I suppose, but that sound makes up for the effort.

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i don't suffer much from switching guitars but i am pretty well spoiled on 3.0 mm big stubby picks.

 

Me too! I can't even begin to use skinny picks anymore! Big Stubby 3.0 :thu:

 

I always use both my LP and Strat at gigs. They are both set up with similar action and with DR Pure Blues .11s. No problem transitioning between the two. It's acoustic guitars that give me problems.

SEHpicker

 

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As long as the instruments are deemed playable and not horrific for some reason I have found that alternating helps my all-around ability. One day an instrument might feel awkward then another day it is close to perfect and visa versa. My electrics have 10's but my acoustic has what feels like 25's and a tough neck. I can still get used to it but it never comes close to the range of playing comfort experienced in the electrics.
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Hey DBM,

 

Good insight and good advice. Clearly, what I need to do is to rotate instruments as you do. Thanks!

 

YW, amigo that is the way I do it. At least for the last 10 years or so. I never even thought it out, I just started doing it some years ago and kept it up for some reason. It was a little more complex when I had 6 or 7 electric guitars. I also rotate through my 2 tube amps as well. On guitars 1,2,&3. I use the Super Champ X2 or the Hot Rod Deluxe but on guitar 4 I use the Hot Rod Deluxe only. On set # 2 I use only the Hot Rod Deluxe because I have a harmony pedal in front of that amp, and set 2 has the only song I use that harmony pedal on, and a boost for the guitar #4 that is also in the pedalboard in front of the HRD. On the Super Champ X2 I use only what is in the amp, no pedals in front although it takes them well. So it gets complex and some days I just forget where I was in the rotation and so I just just start at jump street......

 

I have a custom made Philip Petillo guitar that I used in the late 80's as my guitar to MIDI instrument. It tracked like a male bear following a female in heat. :thu: it is a 25" scale guitar with a small Gibson style tuneomatic bridge, and I could get the GK1 pup right up against it, but I never really bonded with that axe until lately. I use it now every 4th day but for many years it just sat in one shed or another. I could lose that guitar without losing any sleep, but it works fine and has a different tone than any of my other guitars, but upper fret access (24 frets) is not great.

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i don't suffer much from switching guitars but i am pretty well spoiled on 3.0 mm big stubby picks.

 

I have been using Fender Jazz picks http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/fender-358-jazz-guitar-pick-shell since the mid 1970's, great for single note soloing, but less than great for rhythm guitar and even more less than great for acoustic rhythms. Emily Remler showed them to me during one of my lessons with her one day, and I tried them and never went back to the bigger picks I used on acoustic guitars back then.

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@ Fred, I like to think of it as an adjustment period as opposed to a problem when switching instruments. The biggest difference for me is switching from steel string to nylon.

 

@ DBM and Fred, +1 I've been thinking of starting a rotation program and putting all my guitars in line, to include amps...I feel guilty just leaving them in the closet. Play'em or Sell'em I says...

 

@ P90, +1 different guitars bring out a new feeling and open doors to a different way of playing. I start getting a latin feel when playing the nylons, a blues feel when playing the Fender electrics and a jazz feel on the Taylors and a country vibe on the acoustics, etc...

 

@ Guitarzan, Just Strings throws in some free picks with each order of strings and they are thicker than what I have been using so I just kept them around for when others bum picks off of me, as I liked the thinner Cool picks. Lately, I've been using the thicker free ones and have kind of transitioned to them with no problem and started liking a thicker pick...

 

 

Take care, Larryz
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I keep all of my guitars in their cases, right next to my laptop computer which has little (but relatively loud) studio monitors hooked to it. I take each guitar out of it's case when using it on it's rotation day, and put it back when done. That helps in keeping them outta dangers way with foot traffic in the room.
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I had a rare jam with my brother a few days ago-I have not been playing electric recently even though that's now I first started. I knew I was not going to be able to switch right away and I was right-I could still play electric but no flashy stuff.

 

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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i don't suffer much from switching guitars but i am pretty well spoiled on 3.0 mm big stubby picks.

 

I'm the same way with Fender Standard Mediums... at least on a gig. Around the house or recording I'll use different picks to get certain tones, but on gigs when I've strayed... I get aggravated at not getting what I'm used to hearing, and I've even had a sore arm for a couple of days afterwards after having to use whatever I could find at a music store before a gig. It just throws my whole thing off, and I guess I play harder or lighter or whatever subconsciously to compensate and it causes problems.

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I've gotten so used to using Fender heavy's that even a medium guage pick feels awkward. Forget the thin ones. On acoustics, thin ones make me strum harder just to make the axe audible.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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With a heavier pick I can achieve really good "attack" on the strings. Better overall control for fast picking and richer, fuller tone.

when it's time to play a little rhythm I rotate the Big Stubby and play with the rounded edge of the pick. This creates a chimey, bell-tone like ring that I like a lot, plus there is little to no resistance as the side of the pick glides across the strings.

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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I'm not certain how we digressed to the topic of picks. That being said, for the past few years I've been using the DAVA Control Pick which varies the stiffness of the pick dependent on where you hold it. I always hold a flat pick exactly the same way with very little of the pick extending beyond my fingers, so I guess I'm using the stiffest setting. In the past I have also used the Dunlop Nylon (.88 mm) which is somewhat softer and more flexible. I like the DAVA's better, but there are still a couple of the Dunlops in my guitar cases.

 

 

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If I am away from guitar for a while. I can find when switching between Through body and top loader Teles the traditional thorough body is more difficult to play. All guitar are setup very nice with the same guage strings. Something about the sharper break angle on the Vintage style bridges make neds a lot tougher.

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