Advice on an easy to chord on acoustic

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Nevpaurion, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    So I'm looking for a bit of advice on acoustics.

    I've recently embarked on an indie folk type of project and am in the market for an acoustic but here's the rub: Almost every acoustic I have played seems fairly difficult to, say, bar chord for example, especially half way up the fret board.

    At first I thought it was a bad set up, or maybe my lack of skill, or the strings, and to be honest I'm not entirely sure. I mainly play telecasters so I'm use to really low action and a very easy play-ability.

    I recently played a certain Seagull in a shop in passing and it had a very friendly neck/fretboard on it. However It's since been purchased. It's also strange since I owned a Seagull and it was ok but not nearly that easy to play.

    Sort of ranting at this point but any recommendations or advice is much appreciated.
     
  2. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    I'm primarily an electric player myself, and I have always found Takamines to be quite comfortable to adjust to. Bar chords are still going to take a bit more effort on them, same as any acoustic, but once you put some time into it your hand will strengthen up and it won't be an issue.
     
  3. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    I figured it was a combination of personal hand strength and guitar, thanks for the advice I'll def take a look at some of those.
     
  4. Wolfboy1

    Wolfboy1 Supporting Member

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    Lots of quality guitars to choose from and they are all different. Keep playing till you find one that feels right and then work on your strength. I have yet to find one that plays like a tele and I have played a lot:JAM
     
  5. Zagman

    Zagman Gold Supporting Member

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    Go give any Taylor a try. The first time I picked one up I couldn't believe how well it played up the neck! It almost has an electric-style feel.
     
  6. dannopelli

    dannopelli Supporting Member

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    For mass produced guitars, I think Martin sounds best, but Taylor has the best action and their tone is excellent too. Like Zagman states, that is the direction I'd go in. Also consider a Taylor Nylon String, which will be even easier to play. I know - it's what I use for nylon tones.
     
  7. english_bob

    english_bob Member

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    The simple fact is that acoustic guitars *don't* play like electric guitars. If you buy from a reputable dealership and get the guitar set up it should be possible to get the action fairly low, and using light gauge strings will make fretting easier, but it's never going to be a Telecaster. Assuming the action isn't sky high and the frets aren't worn, it's not the guitar's fault that you can't hold down a barre chord.

    You're probably going to have to put some effort in to strengthening your fretting hand- and fine-tuning your fretting technique too perhaps- if you're going to be playing acoustic more, but the good news is that about the only way to usefully do that is to play more guitar, and it'll translate back to your electric playing too.

    As concerns buying one, the same principle always applies- work out your budget, try as many guitars as you can lay your hands on and buy the one that feels right.
     
  8. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Member

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    Short scale Acoustics are easier to play than longer scale acoustics (not "better" and not "worse"). Seagulls are all 24.5 IIRC.
    You can always use light acoustic strings (11's) too. If that's still too hard, then it's off to the woodshed.
    What's on your Tele? 9's? 10's? 13's?
     
  9. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. First off I in no way claim to be a veteran or strong player, gigs here and there a few indie records that no one will ever hear and all mainly on telecasters with a Gretsch here and there for tone differences.

    Point being I'm totally down for takin it to the woodshed and workin up some left hand chops/strength. I've been meaning to get more endurance since I'm primarily a rhythm player.

    I play 10's on all my telecasters, I figure I'll go 10's on my acoustic of choice. I think what I'm going to do now (thanks to all the great advice) is go to a few local shops, find the feel closest to what I'm looking for (thanks for the name brand starting places) and then make up the difference by working my hand strength.

    That being said what would you guys advise wood choice wise for looking for a nice warm folk tone that would be responsive to finger picking and handle some light strumming?
     
  10. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Member

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    What's your budget?
    Mahogany sides and back are softer, Rosewood has more attack. Keef used Mahogany sided guitar (Hummingbird) on a lot of iconic Stones songs. Gilmour used Rosewood (D-35) on Wish you were here. Many other factors there of course.

    Larivee, Breedlove, Blueridge, Seagull, Arts and Lutherie all get plenty of love here.

    think about at least 11's on an acoustic - I've tried 10s and never got any volume at all. That was a long long time ago though, so YYMV.
     
  11. Papajuice

    Papajuice Silver Supporting Member

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    10's on an electric do not feel the same as 10's on an acoustic I would go with lights not extra lights. Warm sounding you need to look a Mahogany it is warmer than Rosewood, but if you need volume then rosewood. Next for easy playing look at Taylor or some of the Martin's like the DM15. I will come down to what feels right to you Acoustics is all about the feel and tone to the individual. I would just hit up a few stores around and play. You will also get a lot of different suggestion with each price range you look at so give us a price range and we could give a better idea of where to point.
     
  12. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    Doh, I totally forgot to mention budget, sorry guys.

    I'm lookin to spend around 600-800, sticking as close to 600 as possible. I know this is pretty measly in a world of 20k single luthier custom mades but, well it's what I've got to work with right now ha.

    I've worked with 10's on an acoustic. I found anything higher than 11's feels unbearable (probably due to my pampered telecaster hands)

    I think 10's is likely to be a good starting place and work my way up to 11's.
     
  13. royd

    royd Member

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    I'd check out one of the 100 or 200 series Taylors. The sides and backs are laminated so it is only an issue of looks. The tops are sitka...

    You really are talking really light gauge strings for an acoustic... 10's won't drive the top very much and will likely sound tinny. Try a set of silk and bronze or silk and steel strings - lighter tension and more flexibility so they should be easy to play plus they have a warm tone. Or at least go for 11's.
     
  14. docfox

    docfox Supporting Member

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    Take a look at the Breedlove imports. They are in your price range. Very well built and are set up in Oregon. Got one for my son-in-law a few Christmases ago. It plays and sounds great, and rivals my American made Breedlove at a fraction of the cost. ( I'm not talking about the Passport series. They are ok, but tend to be more of a travel/campfire guitar for the most part.)
     
  15. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Setup is EVERYTHING. Well, almost. The most common setup failure on acoustics is not properly slotting the nut. Slot depth and width should be correct. I've never played an acoustic that played "just like" an electric. For starters, no one (in their right mind) strings an acoustic with 9's or 10's.
     
  16. flapjack

    flapjack Member

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    I agree that setup is very important when it comes to playability, as is body shape/size and neck shape. I disagree with the descriptions/generalizations of mahogony and rosewood tonal qualities that have been provided in this thread. I suggest playing different guitars to see what you like in terms of everything from body size to tone woods to neck shape. Also, any acoustic that has a proper neck angle can be made to have low action. Action is adjustable. Hope this helps...
     
  17. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    So I tried a few out today and one that really stuck out to me was a Martin 000-X1. I liked the really unique neck to be honest, aesthetically, it reminded me of a tree branch or something very natural looking.

    Picked it up and the action was great, I was able to barre up and down the board fairly easily, though I could definitely start to tell that I've got some work to do strength wise. It felt like the most the guitar can do for me and the rest is my own hand.

    Really dug it's tone, it was warm sounding (to me) and had a nice sort of bloom to the notes akin to plucking an upright string bass, though not as drastic or pronounced as that of course. I kind of liked its size as opposed to the dreadnoughts I usually played, though I feel it took away from the volume a bit.

    Over all fave one so far, though a very big note about my search today was that there were no Taylors in the shop.

    Since apparently set up is extremely important, almost more so than it is for electrics it seems any one know of a good guy to take whatever I end up with in the Houston Tx area?

    Again thanks so much all the input guys, much appreciated.
     
  18. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    Just throwing this out there, I've seen a used Martin 000-X1 on guitar center's site used for 299.99, What do you guys think about ordering through them if I already tried the guitar and liked it? I'm mainly considering it cause I find it going for about 500 most everywhere.
     
  19. Papajuice

    Papajuice Silver Supporting Member

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    If you have played one and like it it I say yea, worst that can happen is you return it in the 30 days. FYI if you do buy it from them and don't like you can return it to a local one so you don't have to ship it back to the original store.
     
  20. Nevpaurion

    Nevpaurion Member

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    Good to know, that def makes my decision a whole lot easier! Thanks again.
     

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