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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Do you practice your electric guitar unplugged?

Previous 20 Messages  
Contributing Member

It's not just good..

...it's good enough.
Dec 3rd, 2013 06:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"How about those of you who do play unplugged do you think it helps your plugged in playing?"

I do.

Tyrone Shuz


I'm all in!
Dec 3rd, 2013 09:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think it helps one's dynamic range on the loud side. I'm not sure it's completely necessary, but I did it a /lot/ early on, and I still do it some now. I always check out a guitar by playing it unplugged first.

I obviously have no control group, but I think it helped me. So would playing clean with just a tiny bit of volume, and you can hear the notes and flubs a little more in this scenario..

Contributing Member

USA, Lubbock

Anybody got a band-aid?
Dec 3rd, 2013 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have turned my amp on maybe 3 times in the last 6 months. Everybody in the house gets irritated with it. Practicing with an amp on is definitely a no no because the same repetitive stuff over and over irritates the woman.

I have a good modeling set up on the computer that works and is very dynamic.

Contributing Member


Dec 3rd, 2013 10:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"How about those of you who do play unplugged do you think it helps your plugged in playing?"

Yes, I definitely think so.


The Free World

My G23 severely dislikes evil people...
Jan 31st, 2014 11:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sometimes play unplugged. Is good to pay attention to nuances like what 5Strats said. Also lets me hear the raw sound from the strings alone from my fingers. And if it sounds like dung alone dry, it will most certainly sound horrific plugged in...

In this small house w/four people, I will plug in to my Vox VT-40 and get some exceptionally nice tones at a very low volume....

This amp out of the box needed some help. Initially had a bad hiss and the overall sound really sucked.

Ripped back off. Removed the Ruby Vox labeled 12AX7 tube. Tried a few different decent 12AX7s I had laying around at that time----all sounded like garbage with same hissssss....

Went and grabbed a late 60's GE 12AU7 NOS I knew was put away after having briefly used it for a Vox Tonelab I used to have.

12AU7 goes in and the stupid hissss went away. The amp seemed to have a new compressed and tightened up response attitude adjustment.

Sounds killer screaming or whispering with a power soak dial (0-60 watt variable output).....

**Sorry for the gear-ish chatter of my comment--it is just that it does so closely tie in to what I do in my chops......

(This message was last edited by side-swipeTelecaster at 01:55 PM, Jan 31st, 2014)


Pura Vida

All riff, no raff.
Feb 5th, 2014 05:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

All the time. If it sounds good unplugged it will only sound better when amped up.

Contributing Member

Ocala, Fla

Feb 9th, 2014 07:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The more you play plugged in the more practice you have utilizing the 2nd half of the electric guitar equation. But I think conditions have to be right. Anything looming over the volume restrictions isn't conducive to the process. You have to be able to play at stage volume if you so desire to be able to learn your amp.

That said, I play unplugged most of the time and most often without a pick. On stage I almost always use a pick and certainly always play plugged in. I think playing unplugged is better than not playing at all, but think I've developed some bad habits.

Contributing Member


Feb 11th, 2014 09:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I look at an electric guitar as two instruments. One is the guitar the other is the amp.

I practice unplugged about 60% of the time, it allows me to practice the *guitar*.

I then plug in and make the amplified sound like the un-amped. I then allow the amp to be an instrument and color the sound.

I mostly play with the amp volume up and guitar volume down. I change my tone by turning the guitar volume control.

There is no wrong way.


Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Mar 7th, 2014 01:22 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If I just don't feel like plugging in I may sit on the couch in the evening and do so, however for me like others, the nuances you may miss can be glaring when you do plug in.

I prefer to play dry on an acoustic, but even that sometimes is too loud in a quiet evening house when no one else wants to hear you.

I've learned to do the majority of my playing outdoors on the lanai, but I have that option when many don't.

Screech Owl


Mar 13th, 2014 08:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Love the unplugged practice, saves ear fatigue, teaches you to coax a sound out when there is not any power behind you. Also, repetition with an amplified amp can get redundant. After sessions of practice, later plug in and the added benefit of loud but fairly accurate is pretty liberating.

Contributing Member


Mar 17th, 2014 07:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I can get the squeaks and squeals, harmonics, pops chunks, rings and any other sound I can get while plugged in, un plugged.

With the amp it is louder, and with the amp I can get interaction with it.

Like I said the amp is also an instrument.

But ultimately tone is in the fingers.

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member


Mar 17th, 2014 08:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

probably 3-4 times a week..

wife likes company when shoes watching the tube..

after changing strings, it gives me a chance to break them in.... love the way the strings ring out unplugged...you can hear the sweet (and the dead spots!) better..
then make adjustments etc as needed

Contributing Member

Ocala, Fla

Mar 18th, 2014 12:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

More and more these days.

Screech Owl


Mar 18th, 2014 01:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Like I said the amp is also an instrument"

I subscribe to this camp also because you can't help but to tweak your eq and effects to enhance your strengths in conjunction with your fingers after you have practiced some. This helps makes your complete tonal signature.

Contributing Member

Seattle, Wa

Mar 21st, 2014 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think I read where Jimi use to just haul around a guitar neck with him when hew was in high school.

Contributing Member

Houston, TX

Give me a second to think of something..
Mar 22nd, 2014 12:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, but maybe if he had plugged it in occasionally he would have learned how to tune the thing!


Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Jun 23rd, 2014 06:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

In my formative years 13-14 years old my folks took me to "guitar lessons" in the next town over. Vacant storefront with. Few chairs type of thing.
Older accomplished musicians locally would get everyone on the same page and go through chord changes with us sitting in a circle.
There was one gentleman there who ran a circle with his early 50's tele. This guitar had ditches in the fretboard from the nut to the end of the neck.He played it into a 50's tweed champ that had very little cover left. It was all worn down from handling etc.
He acted like he was getting a kick out of it . At the end of each lesson the 3-4 instructors would jam to show off a bit I guess. Anyway this guy with the tele just blew away everyone else.
Asked about his gear to get those sounds we kids were hearing. He said he just came to the sessions so he could play through an amp which belonged to one of the other guys.
He was an old farmer who bought the tele new and figured he'd buy an amp in a year or so when he could scrape up the cash. He never did because he claimed he could hear it just fine while sitting on his porch out at the farm.



Feb 3rd, 2015 08:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I use a small solid state amp turned down real low to play my strat upstairs while the wife watches tv, It annoys her less than my unplugged archtop. I do play the strat unplugged after I put my grand daughter to bed. If you go with an older MIM strat with the small light block may I suggest a GFS steel block. As far as tone goes plugged in the jury is out on the block and things can be argued both ways. Unplugged a heavy steel block really shines and gives the strat a nice very quiet ringing acoustic voice. I know that is really not what a strat is for, but it can take you somewhere different during a quiet time. (Like the song says: Space travel is in my blood but there is nothing I can do about it.)


LA , Calif

Lost on the blue ball
Mar 9th, 2015 09:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I play unplugged , can't stand headphones or I use a Pignose 7-100 turned down low and a strat backed off just so I get a clean tone or adjust for a tiny bit of breakup.


Back In The UK!

Swinging The Lead
Mar 13th, 2015 03:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I am with 5strats, any guitar that sounds pants unplugged really isn't ideal plugged. Exceptions abound of course, I had a 335 set up very low that buzzed like hell unplugged but was sweet as in an amp.

Tend to attack it more unplugged.

Bit like singing with a mic versus a cappella, you dig in more acoustically for volume.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Do you practice your electric guitar unplugged?

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