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Ac.guitar is hard to play Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 28th March 2018
  #1
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G-Sun's Avatar
Ac.guitar is hard to play

I've playing acoustic guitar for some 30years,
steelstringed and nylon,
and the more I play it, the more I realize
how hard it is to play it well.

And record it well for that matter..

Old 28th March 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
+1

Speaking as a professional pianist 35+ years and guitarist for 25+ years I can say without doubt all guitar playing is difficult compared to keyboards.

I learnt piano and keyboards like falling of a log - the guitar continues to challenge me.

The musical arrangement of the strings is bonkers (like 6 off-set keyboards) and the whole experience is physically demanding - especially compared to piano which in comparison is easy.

You can remove a guitar string and use it as a cheese cutter :-)

Still guitar imho is an incredibly expressive instrument and worth every hour I put into trying to master it.
Old 28th March 2018
  #3
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swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
I've playing acoustic guitar for some 30years,
steelstringed and nylon,
and the more I play it, the more I realize
how hard it is to play it well.

And record it well for that matter..

You just need more compression.

Or less.

Or maybe none.

Old 28th March 2018
  #4
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patshep's Avatar
because you can hear every nuance, and you need technique to pull things off
keyboards are easy in terms of sound, you just hit the note and there it is... making a note sound good on guitar is harder, however we don't have to play two independent lines, or read two lines when we play sheet music, i suck at piano (but i don't practice much)
i haven't recorded piano, but recording acoustic guitar is sort of a pain in my crappy nyc apartment, but if i throw enough pillows around and get placement right, it sounds pretty good
the worst part of acoustic guitar is how damn expensive a good one is ( i need a new one)
Old 28th March 2018
  #5
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
You just need more compression.

Or less.

Or maybe none.

Dude, that's funny.
Old 28th March 2018
  #6
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Over the years I've changed to using partial bar chords rather than a bar over all six strings and that took a lot of the stress off my hand. Using lots of double stops and triads helps as well.
Old 28th March 2018
  #7
One of the reasons I never wanted to own a 12 string. Had to record several takes in a studio with a 12 string and it nearly crippled me.

Being a electric player I can no longer handle 3 hour duo gigs on a acoustic. Instead I use a electric guitar with a ghost piezo pickup. Between the tc helicon bodyrez and graph tech acoustic preamp I can a pretty decent sound live. Its also pretty cool to loop on the acoustic piezo and solo over it on a electric pup with the flick of a switch. My wife also plays with me using using a larrivee which I admit does sound much better. The larrivee is very inspiring to play acoustically.
Old 29th March 2018
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by patshep View Post
...however we don't have to play two independent lines, or read two lines when we play sheet music...
that's a personal choice...
For Joe Beck | Get Off My Lawn Records
Old 29th March 2018
  #9
Anyone who thinks the 'standard' 6 string guitar tuning offset (all perfect 4th intervals going up except for that pesky major 3rd) makes things awkward should do what I did early on in my guitar self-tutelage: try different tunings. Like, for instance, all fourths. And some folks actually like all fourths -- but it seems to make for some awkward fingerings. Let's face it, there's nothing particularly 'symmetrical' about the musical scale, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patshep View Post
because you can hear every nuance, and you need technique to pull things off
keyboards are easy in terms of sound, you just hit the note and there it is... making a note sound good on guitar is harder, however we don't have to play two independent lines, or read two lines when we play sheet music, i suck at piano (but i don't practice much)
i haven't recorded piano, but recording acoustic guitar is sort of a pain in my crappy nyc apartment, but if i throw enough pillows around and get placement right, it sounds pretty good
the worst part of acoustic guitar is how damn expensive a good one is ( i need a new one)
The bolded part may well be true for many -- make that most -- of us, but at a certain point, some guitarists just get adventurous... Here are three different guitarists exploring the two line improv approach of departed master Jimmy Wyble...



I like how this guy breaks down the approach -- although my high school/bar Spanish isn't adequate to follow his words, it's instructive to watch his atomized musical explanation.



Here's a little apparently off-the-top-of-his-head tribute to Wyble from his onetime pupil, Sid Jacobs...

Old 29th March 2018
  #10
Gear Guru
I love tunings, coincidentially so does Keith Richards, but he's a hack......
Old 29th March 2018
  #11
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They are harder to play, it's a fact.

What I hate the most about acoustics is that you have to have either the best mics money can buy to get them to sound good, or use crazy technique....which kills the buzz when laying down tracks. I finally sold my Taylor and said f it.
Old 29th March 2018
  #12
Gear Nut
 
howseth's Avatar
Or banjo tunings for guitar

Playing the 5 string banjo since 1973. When I finally bought an electric guitar in 2014 - I just took off the high E string....so I could get closer to banjo tunings - quite a few tunings are used in old-time banjo playing.

EAEAB: I prefer this tuning configuration 70% of the time. low to high: Also, sometimes tune that B up to C and now it's a A minor tuning - or tune that B up to C# and it's A major chord... or... tune them all down a step - or up a step to sing in a higher/lower key.... or how about a heavy blues tuning: EBEGB - nighttime graveyard shimmer to that tuning - sounds 1920's...and can't forget the Bluegrass standard dDGBD - but I don't use that much anymore - and have never on the guitar)...then there's the Modal tunings - so archaic.

5 strings is more than I can handle.. 6 strings - Man, forget about it!
Old 29th March 2018
  #13
ccg
Gear Maniac
 

There's almost nothing more exciting for me than laying down an acoustic rhythm part that runs all the way through a song in a full uncut take. Double it when you're done and if you NEED compression you could have played it better. 6, 12 or both, this is one of my favorite things. There's something very "zen" about getting so zoned in to the internal rhythms of a song...especially for an overdub.
Old 30th March 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howseth View Post
Playing the 5 string banjo since 1973. When I finally bought an electric guitar in 2014 - I just took off the high E string....so I could get closer to banjo tunings - quite a few tunings are used in old-time banjo playing.

EAEAB: I prefer this tuning configuration 70% of the time. low to high: Also, sometimes tune that B up to C and now it's a A minor tuning - or tune that B up to C# and it's A major chord... or... tune them all down a step - or up a step to sing in a higher/lower key.... or how about a heavy blues tuning: EBEGB - nighttime graveyard shimmer to that tuning - sounds 1920's...and can't forget the Bluegrass standard dDGBD - but I don't use that much anymore - and have never on the guitar)...then there's the Modal tunings - so archaic.

5 strings is more than I can handle.. 6 strings - Man, forget about it!
So, you are saying you don't have one of these?

Old 30th March 2018
  #15
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GeneHall's Avatar
It's always a great feeling to play well. The guitar is quite forgiving though, if how your'e playing doesn't supersede the emotional conveyance of what your'e playing.
I'm very hard on my own playing , rarely happy with it knowing others are so much better. But more often than not, impassioned emotive playing will reel me in more often than peerless articulation or fancy pants phrasing and chops.
Old 30th March 2018
  #16
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Quint's Avatar
People like Ovations because they seem to be easier to play, as far as acoustics go. They sound like crushed up monkey **** though.

Alternative tunings can help, as do lower overall tunings. Sometimes I like to tune the acoustic a step lower and then put a capo on it to bring it back up. It does affect the tone though.

As for piano, yeah, it's easier to play from a purely physical standpoint, but I still don't "get" piano in the same way that I "get" playing guitar. I wish I did. It's probably because I picked up guitar and played it for a good while before ever getting into playing piano. And I own two pianos and two organs....
Old 30th March 2018
  #17
Gear Nut
 
howseth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by toowrongfoo View Post
So, you are saying you don't have one of these?

9 strings!... Some people are genius. Actually, on a 5 string banjo - the fifth string is mainly a drone that you tune - but rarely even fret! So 4 strings to contend with. I do have a 4 string electric bass for recording - but mainly use the 3 lower strings... which when compared to banjo strings are like the cables holding up bridges.
Old 30th March 2018
  #18
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccg View Post
There's almost nothing more exciting for me than laying down an acoustic rhythm part that runs all the way through a song in a full uncut take. Double it when you're done and if you NEED compression you could have played it better. 6, 12 or both, this is one of my favorite things. There's something very "zen" about getting so zoned in to the internal rhythms of a song...especially for an overdub.
True true. I don't like punch ins, preferring to lay down a fluid performance that needs no compression. It is definitely a zone thing.
Old 30th March 2018
  #19
Gear Guru
I love dgdgbd g tuning gonna try that blues tuning tho! I tune the guitar to my vocal range so dropping down a lot. Acoustics are hard to play but man what a beautiful instrument!
Old 30th March 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
I love tunings, coincidentially so does Keith Richards, but he's a hack......
But he's a great hack.


I remember back in the 70s people used to float bringing in Rory Gallagher (I suspect in reaction to Mick Taylor, who many folks seemed to feel wasn't street/bluesy enough, I guess)... I never got that. I love Rory -- he could play lazy circles around a lot of blues rockers -- but Keith always seemed to me the proper guitar foundation for the Stones. And I liked the addition of Wood, who brought some nicely lyrical but never showboaty filigrees and textures. Anyhow. Keith is Keith.
Old 30th March 2018
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Hi all!

(sorry for my English. It's not my first language, but I'll try to do my best)

I'm brand new in this board, but I've been playing guitar for more than 20 years

Since I was a kid, I fell for acoustics and nylon strings. Despite I LOVE rock music (classic, prog, etc) never really felt the need to play electric. I gave that for my brother. When we had a band, I used to play bass, keyboards and acoustics

I first learnt guitar, at 12 or 13, I picked up my dad's nylon. So it was a natural process to me. Years later I played an electric.

Over the years I've noticed that the people that start with an electric usually find much harder to play an acoustic rather than people that start with an acoustic.

If I was to say some "tips", I'd say:

1- Do not learn with a pick. Try to use your fingers as much as you can
2- Do not try to learn billion chords that you'll never use. FEEL rhythm first, until you get a rock steady pulse. FEEL dynamics (despite guitar is an instrument with limited dynamics and volume, I've found that players play with even less dynamics). FEEL the sound that's coming from your playing. Normally players are rushed to learn a melody and a chord sequence, and don't pay attention to the other aspects.
3- Listen to yourself. Record your performances.
4- Get expert training. With today's technology you can even watch billions of youtube tutorials about how to play. I specially recommend CLASSICAL training. From the classic "Pumping Nylon" to these days, there's plenty of wonderful material out there. Right hand, left hand, arpeggios, barre chords, fingers indepence, etc, etc.
5- If possible, a music teacher. Don't be shy. We can learn anything from every period of our lives. Of course not all of us will become Andrew York, Al Di Meola or John Williams, but it will make us better performers.

and finally. ENJOY YOURSELVES playing. It's not a collegue exam, it's your joy, your passion, your playing.

As for recording: I've found plenty of wonderful 6 and 12 string recordings (yes, 12 string is on more records than people normally think!), but it comes frustrating when I listen to nylon.

Don't know why oh why but in the most cases (even from legendary classical guitarists like Julian Bream, Pepe Romero, etc) the wonderful tone is never captured right on tape (and these days, digital). Some recordings are too much room/hall and few tone, with the guitar sounding rather thin.

David Russell is one that usually sounds good in records. And currently Jason Vieaux's 'Images of Metheny' is one of my favourites

Finally, for 6 and 12 strings. Try a bit of Tone Finger Ease. It will help out a lot!
Cheers

Old 30th March 2018
  #22
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
But he's a great hack.


I remember back in the 70s people used to float bringing in Rory Gallagher (I suspect in reaction to Mick Taylor, who many folks seemed to feel wasn't street/bluesy enough, I guess)... I never got that. I love Rory -- he could play lazy circles around a lot of blues rockers -- but Keith always seemed to me the proper guitar foundation for the Stones. And I liked the addition of Wood, who brought some nicely lyrical but never showboaty filigrees and textures. Anyhow. Keith is Keith.
To me, he is the Stones sound. I thought it really interesting in his book where he talked about playing essentially a 5 string, since he damps strings which I find useful, when playing in a dropped D tuning. The book is a good read FWIW! I always find it ironic when people talk of the greatest guitarists of all time. I'd put him up there. He, Dave Davies, George Harrison, Lindsay Buckingham, Robby Kreiger etc. did so much with the tone of the instrument. Technical brilliance is one thing, but sound is another. Jimi was seminal to me, because he did both.

I was playing with a couple of guys and one could do anything, but the other was truly amazing since he made everything fit into a soundscape. Maybe because I grew up with a 12 string, have always been drawn to great rhythm guitar players that shape the song....
Old 30th March 2018
  #23
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccg View Post
There's something very "zen" about getting so zoned in to the internal rhythms of a song...especially for an overdub.
Amen to that. Well said.

And playing an acoustic guitar really heightens that experience because, so often, it's role is "tuned percussion."
Old 30th March 2018
  #24
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G-Sun's Avatar
Nice to see so many good comments and suggestions in this thread.
Always keen to up my playing
Old 30th March 2018
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
To me, he is the Stones sound. I thought it really interesting in his book where he talked about playing essentially a 5 string, since he damps strings which I find useful, when playing in a dropped D tuning. The book is a good read FWIW! I always find it ironic when people talk of the greatest guitarists of all time. I'd put him up there. He, Dave Davies, George Harrison, Lindsay Buckingham, Robby Kreiger etc. did so much with the tone of the instrument. Technical brilliance is one thing, but sound is another. Jimi was seminal to me, because he did both.

I was playing with a couple of guys and one could do anything, but the other was truly amazing since he made everything fit into a soundscape. Maybe because I grew up with a 12 string, have always been drawn to great rhythm guitar players that shape the song....
Well observed. And always nice to see the often-overlooked Dave Davies get some due!

I think the thing that unifies the guitarists you cite is that they largely created parts to serve the song, not as frames for a flashy solo.


Not to say I haven't liked me a flashy solo or two along the way. But you really have to admire a guitarist who really knows how to enhance and even unify the whole package of a song with his contributions.
Old 30th March 2018
  #26
Gear Guru
My favorite id David Gilmore. He's the total package, phrasing, tone all of it. The Kinks are my favorite band. From music hall vaudeville to rock to all the different styles they played. There was such and experimental side to music I miss where a band like the Doors would do a real style shift from one song/album to the next. Robby Kreiger would go into slide and pedal steel or acoustic if needed. Rock guys playing acoustic is special. My favorite acoustic player is John Renbourne.

Of course when you get into bluegrass and Doc Watson territory, the technical ability gets scary. Tony Rice and Bela Fleck, yikes! Nashville cats.....

Someone said the guitar solo on "The Royal Scam" was one of the most technically brilliant solos ever from a virtuoso standpoint. Crossing into jazz another frontier.....

One of the most amazing players I grew up with started studying classical guitar. He said it was a gazillion times harder than anything he'd ever done, and to get true sustain with the speed of the notes was the tricky part.

There is a great book Clapton's Guitar about a luthier Wayne Henderson that is a great read about the heads behind real acoustic guitar making and playing...Dylan really bridged the gap when he played the Newport Folk Festival.....
Old 31st March 2018
  #27
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teleharmonium's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Anyone who thinks the 'standard' 6 string guitar tuning offset (all perfect 4th intervals going up except for that pesky major 3rd) makes things awkward should do what I did early on in my guitar self-tutelage: try different tunings. Like, for instance, all fourths. And some folks actually like all fourths -- but it seems to make for some awkward fingerings. Let's face it, there's nothing particularly 'symmetrical' about the musical scale, right?
I've been using fourths tuning exclusively for the last 18 years.

I wouldn't necessarily advise a long time player to switch; it does take a long time (in any tuning) for your fretboard knowledge to become fast and intuitive.

Any tuning involves tradeoffs for fingerings. Some chords will be easy and others harder than another tuning you might pick, and since playing styles vary there is no one size fits all. If you don't want to change your voicings at all, you might not want to switch. For me, I was never that attached to open chords or barre chords, and I always liked widely voiced chords without duplicated notes, so it wasn't much of a sacrifice.

If you are a newer player looking to get into jazz, fourths has a lot to offer. There is a unique power to symmetry.
Old 31st March 2018
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teleharmonium View Post
[...] There is a unique power to symmetry.
That's what I was thinking when I experimented with it. Maybe now that I have stretched my left pinky spread...

I also looked at Bob Fripp's New Standard Tuning a bit in the 1980s but it didn't click with me.

These days, I mostly stick with standard, open D (mostly for slide), and DADGAD (all tuned a half step down for my vocal comfort), although for a while I was doing quite a bit of work in a full drone tuning, DADDAD -- mostly because I couldn't find a proper G string in my gig bag one day when I was out in the world playing and decided I'd rather have two same-tuned strings than a 'hole' in the middle'... fun... but droney. When I play DADGAD, I'm usually working to try to stay 'un-droney' so it was kind of an interesting interlude. You can do some fun double stop stuff with two adjacent same-tuned strings.
Old 31st March 2018
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
... for a while I was doing quite a bit of work in a full drone tuning, DADDAD...
I was fiddling around and watching TV and probably drinking and wound up with EAEEAE. It wound up in a song. You might like it. The tuning, not the song.
Old 31st March 2018
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I was fiddling around and watching TV and probably drinking and wound up with EAEEAE. It wound up in a song. You might like it. The tuning, not the song.
One never knows, I might even like the song. I am something of an aesthetic outlier.


I know you don't tend to post your own music, but is there any place where the curious could check it out? Here's an example of one of my DADDAD improvs that I added a synth and hand percussion to. It still wasn't droney enough so I took a copy of the guitar part, flipped it into reverse and slid it around against the main track until I got an effect I liked.
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