Anyone NOT bringing/playing an acoustic guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by boo radley, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. boo radley

    boo radley Supporting Member

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    Not really sure which sub-forum this should go in, but....
    I've been playing with some folks, lately, that play a lot of 70's covers (Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, etc.).

    I've really been avoiding playing the acoustic. I have one (actually a couple -- this is TGP!), but they're dreadnaughts, and I've been focused on playing the electric; typically a Tele. I know a guitar is a guitar, but I really feel awkward with an acoustic. I would never claim I have a 'style', but I've sort of fallen into a technique that works for me -- hybrid picking, triad voicings....But this doesn't work to well on the acoustic, and my pure flatpicking is really rusty.

    Here's the question, I guess: have some of you simply ignored playing the acoustic on songs / styles that could use it? Or did taking a detour and/or really focusing on the acoustic expand your playing?

    I have limited time to practice play and want to maximize improvement.
     
  2. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    I got back into acoustic when I found the right one for me. It happened to be a Taylor 414 that literally plays like an electric guitar (due to the lighter gauge strings those models are designed for). Those guitars are just silky, man. But it does not sound like a dread, if that's your thing. :)

    However, an acoustic plugged in is an acoustic plugged in, in my opinion (especially at gig with a full band playing)... at that point it's almost entirely a matter of what you are plugging into when it comes to tone quality. So maybe an acoustic guitar that is more electric player friendly woud be the answer?

    Otherwise, there are acoustic modeler pedals and depending on your preferences you could even add piezo to one of your electrics to kick in for those certain songs.

    Lots of options these days.

    I will say that playing acoustic again has improved my electric playing 10 fold. The finger strength alone is worth it, and there are certain things you play on an acoustic that really sound best on acoustic... so it's nice to have that dichotomy.

    RR
     
  3. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    I focused on electric almost exclusively for initial 10+ years, although I did have an acoustic for much of this time. Only about 5 years ago, I seriously started to focus on acoustic. Couple of items that helped me,

    Get a GOOD setup. I found I can play an electric with high action and out of adjustment with not too much issue, but it REALLY makes playing a acoustic difficult. So make sure you have a good setup, and it makes a ton difference. At least for me.

    Then it was just about practice, phrasing, timing... and confidence. I still feel I have a long ways to go...

    I actually still use the mid-level Guild dreadnaught I have had for 20+ years, properly setup it is quite acceptable, but I'm seriously "gassing" (as they say here on TGP) for a new acoustic.
     
  4. tapeworm

    tapeworm Supporting Member

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    I currently don't own a single acoustic other than a Guild X-50 archtop, which I don't play as much as I should and when I do I play it plugged in. I started out ONLY wanting to play acoustic, then I played that first chord on a 63 Tele through a Super Reverb and from that point on I was an electric guitar player.

    Lately, though, I have been trying looking for another nice acoustic. Looking for a late 60's early 70's Guild D25 or D50. I find that when I am burnt out or lacking in creativity, just picking up an acoustic and strumming it a few times turns into me learning 4-5 songs in a weekend and I feel ready to tackle the electric and my music in general with renewed vigor.
     
  5. theaxedoctor

    theaxedoctor Member

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    I probably play acoustic more than electric. I often use my acoustic to write new songs, work out a tune with the vocalist for my band, or even to practice exercises to build strength and speed. After practicing on acoustic, I find it much easier to play the same thing on the electric. I rarely use my acoustic when playing a bar gig however, because it simply isn't practical for me. I usually use 1 or 2 electrics all night, through 1 amplifier.

    I would definitely start practicing with the acoustic. Flatpicking on an acoustic will translate well to electric.
     
  6. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    cliff notes: i play what i play on whatever on play.

    i actually moved away from acoustics because i was so distraught with the ass sound of acoustics plugged in, live or otherwise. so i went through a few semis before i found one i liked. then i added a full hollow. and finally, and archtop acoustic with a floater. so i did go full circle, but what i deduced at the beginning still stands. i'd rather have a good electric clean sound that a bad acoustic sound.

    but that floater sure sounds good, let me tell you. and i got a flat top with the kk system in it and that isn't so bad, either.

    so to finally answer your question- i'd probably just grab the hollow body for live stuff, just so wouldn't have to drag all this crap around. in the studio, i use whichever is right. at home, i just rotate the one guitar i leave out and play them all. my "technique", such as it is, carries over from guitar to guitar, though i play them all slightly different, as they invoke different things.
     
  7. midwayfair

    midwayfair Member

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    Um, what? :huh

    Do you mean for you personally?

    Try lighter strings on the acoustic. (Yup, even on a dreadnaught.)
     
  8. boo radley

    boo radley Supporting Member

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    Ugh, nice English....I mean "to[sic] well" for me, personally, yes. I might play C7 -> G7 something like, "x 10 8 9 x x" "x 10 9 10 x x " depending on context, but with an acoustic I wouldn't think to play those partial chords...

    I dunno -- I'm not explaining myself well. It's more of a mindset, probably -- I pick up the dread and think: 'boom-chicka', bass-strum. Lead lines up the neck really feel unnatural to me, too. It never occurs to me to try to play exactly the same thing, but only on an acoustic for some reason.

    But the suggestion to try light strings is a good one. Or clearly the answer is a new acoustic guitar geared more for playing amplified --something with a cutaway, and pickup. :)
     
  9. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm an acoustic player at heart; I even do a lot of acoustic-style fingerpicking on my electrics. I'd bring an acoustic or two to shows, but I've learned that bringing more instruments is just extra loading and unloading time and there often isn't room to store the cases.
     
  10. strumminsix

    strumminsix Member

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    Get a smaller size acoustic. My main is called concert size I believe...
     
  11. radicool

    radicool Member

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    I played one on gigs for years with my band - about 7 or 8 songs per night or thereabouts. I'm the rhythm player in the band, so I didn't have to worry about playing leads on the thing, but I didn't find the transition from electric to acoustic and back again to be very difficult. One thing I did do was to have a dedicated acoustic setup that was completely independant: amp, effects, etc, were not shared with my electric rig. That made it very easy to switch guitars: no tweaking amp or effect settings; just pick it up and play.
     
  12. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    I play nearly everything primarily on an acoustic whenever possible. I love to plug in and play electric but I save that for rehearsals and gigs.
     
  13. Wolfboy1

    Wolfboy1 Grandpa but...Not Yet Old! Silver Supporting Member

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    An acoustic was my first guitar in 75.
    After I got back into playing again I bought a nice Yamaha but mostly played electric. I recently bought a Larrivee and haven't touched an electric in the last 3 weeks. What a difference a fine guitar, light strings and a perfect setup makes. I also moved away from a dreadnaught.

    As to your original statements....at gigs I originally brought along an acoustic for a few songs but it was too much of a hassle. I had a StarTouch a/b switch so I could just set one guitar down and pick the other up with no cable changes but the amp was not set up right and had to be adjusted, not hard but often not right either. Then went to one of those Boss pedals AC-2....okay but not great. I agree with the poster who said bring a seperate amp for your acoustic. A dedicated acoustic amp. Do a seperate sound check on everything then just switch guitars quickly when you need to. Mostly I just set me electric real clean with a little reverb for acoustic songs. I don't gig enough to justify another amp. Or you could go straight into whatever PA you are using....
     
  14. raymeedc

    raymeedc Member

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    I am constantly jockeying between the two. I thrive on the differences it brings out in my physical approach & writing, in particular.
     
  15. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

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    ^^ This. I'm probably 60/40 acoustic/electric, but as a songwriter, I would never be without both.
     
  16. rspencer

    rspencer Member

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    I enjoy playing my acoustic.
    I hate gigging on an acoustic (and I won't).
     
  17. BEACHBUM

    BEACHBUM Member

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    It's not really that unusual to prefer one over the other. In fact the majority of guitarists specialize in one to the exclusion of the other. Although in one sense it is true that "a guitar is a guitar" it's not really that simple. In fact it is very much akin to the difference between an electric keyboard and a conventional piano. In the case of both the guitar and the keyboards the electrics and the acoustics require totally different methods of attack when playing. The electric is touch sensitive and the acoustic requires much more aggression.

    I'm 64 and for 40+ years I played both and in my hay days I could play 4 hour gigs on those 12's and not notice it. But the bottom line is that the acoustic guitar just like a conventional piano is a far more physically demanding instrument than an electric. Of course I can still sit down and whip out an hour of acoustic tunes. That's not the problem. The problem is being able to do it at the performance level I expect of myself. I suppose if I went at it hard enough I could regain the acoustic chops I once had but the bottom line is that I'm so into my electrics now that I really don't miss the acoustic guitar that much anyway. And, the biggest reason is that all of those songs that used to be the sole domain of my Martin have now been slightly rearranged to sound absolutely wonderful on my new Gretcsh Tennessee Rose. See, you can have your cake and eat it to.
     
  18. crimson on pink

    crimson on pink Supporting Member

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    This. I write and almost always play acoustic at home. When I play with the band or gig, one guitar into my 1 amp. I wish I could find the guitar/amp setup that allows how I hear my acoustic to sound in my head. Not fallin for any gas tho. Lol
     
  19. vibrasonic

    vibrasonic Member

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    Theres nothing like sitting around with some friends and jamming out some tunes with acoustic's. Good times!
     
  20. midwayfair

    midwayfair Member

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    I wasn't slagging off your English.

    I was giving the :huh because hybrid picking is very, very common with acoustic guitarists going back before electric guitars were used in folk, country, and and blues. Richard Thompson is the first person that comes to mind for hybrid picking to me, and he plays acoustic often enough.

    I'm suggesting the lighter strings because it will help with smoothing out volume differences between pick and fingers.

    It's almost certain a mindset, and you should be able to break out of it with the acoustic. I personally play those chords all the time on my acoustic and they work just fine (but I don't use a pick at all, just three fingers).
     

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