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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Looking for an answer

BahPa

USA

Nov 30th, 2014 08:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi All!

I've been lurking for years and finally joined today. I really enjoy this forum and have learned a lot. Here's the issue. I've played acoustic guitar for most of my life. I just bought an electric. I noticed that my sound and technique sounds terrible when I plug in. I know there is a learning curve with new equipment but is there anything inherently different between playing acoustic vs. electric? Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Regards,

BahPa

ninworks
Contributing Member
*

Arizona

Too Much GAS
Nov 30th, 2014 08:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Play the electric with a softer touch. Don't dig into the strings as heavy. Also, use just enough fretting force so the notes don't buzz. I equate playing acoustic guitar to electric the same as playing piano vs. organ. The organ doesn't require the same amount of physical force as the piano. The same goes for guitars. With the electric, let the amp do the work. Don't overdo it.

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 11:28 AM, Nov 30th, 2014)

BahPa

USA

Nov 30th, 2014 09:19 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That's good advice. When I started playing way back when, I played on a Sigma that had a terrible set up. The strings were very high and I got used to a heavy touch, I didn't know about set ups and the like, young and dumb...........

I've changed some but obviously not enough. Thanks for your input. I'm in AZ also, where are you?

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
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-or you'll find out

what I'm famous for
Nov 30th, 2014 09:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great points.

The electric requires less calories to play. Broadly speaking, you don't have to make the guitar respond because it's not a matter of getting the strings to move the guitar's top. All you have to do is get the strings moving.

This is the primary reason for the really thin string gauges: they don't have to be big and heavy to get good projection. Most players use a .09 gauge high E string. Many like 10s. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top uses a *7* gauge, and nobody accuses him of sounding thin.

Moving from acoustic to electric is tough. A good way to judge your effort is to play the electric unplugged: you will hear fret buzz clearly and know you're being too heavy-handed.

For the fretting hand aspect, most electrics have larger frets than acoustics. This, combined with the thinner strings, makes it very easy to squeeze notes and chords sharp. A light touch with the fretting hand is all that's required.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*

Arizona

Too Much GAS
Nov 30th, 2014 09:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Phoenix

Charente

France

Nov 30th, 2014 10:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Two things that may not apply but who knows.

Assuming you're playing through an amp, many amps sound horrible unless dialled in to a sweet spot (some amps sound horrible regardless) and many acoustic players just don't like the sound of an amplified electric. I may take a while to adjust to the tone.

Are you playing clean or with a little dirt? A rule of thumb is that there's an inverse relationship between the level of overdrive and the complexity of chord voicings you can use without it turning to mush or with horrible discordance - hence power chords.



BahPa

USA

Nov 30th, 2014 11:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I generally play clean, probably 70%. Praise music doesn't appeal to me with distortion. However I do enjoy a couple of blues songs and then I distort a little but not too much. Good point about the amps sweet spot. The amp is new and I'm still fiddling with it. The sound I'm trying to get is much like Duke Robillard. He has a few blues lessons on youtube that I try to emulate.

Regards,

BahPa



Charente

France

Nov 30th, 2014 12:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I generally play clean, probably 70%. Praise music doesn't appeal to me with distortion."

I can appreciate that ;-)

String gauge be another issue that ties in with a lighter touch. Have you changed the strings from what was supplied. Electrics can accommodate a more acoustic style gauge if its more comfortable with the expense of less easy string bending.

BahPa

USA

Nov 30th, 2014 12:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The guitar came with 10's and that's what I have on it.

Another thing that I wonder about, should I turn the volume and tone to max on the guitar and control each with the amp or the opposite, that is, turn it up on the amp and control it on the guitar? I know that these questions may seem to be pretty elementary to most of you, and I appreciate all the info you could give a 65 year old strummer trying to learn something new.

Regards,

BahPa

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Nov 30th, 2014 01:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've had the same experience. I had played acoustic for about 5 years before I picked up an electric. At first everything I played sounded incredibly chaotic and jangly.

Electric guitars have two traits that are very different from acoustics: First, they have much longer sustain, and second, the notes have much more prevalent high harmonics, so they sound much brighter. So some playing techniques, especially strumming big open chords, just don't sound as good on electrics.

To get around those differences, I found it helpful to (1) do more palm muting, left hand muting of unwanted notes, and cutting off notes and chords with the right hand after they have sounded long enough, and, (2) just playing fewer notes; more single notes and intervals rather than big booming chords.

Those habits have now become instinctive, but the process took quite a while. Hope that helps, and good luck.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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-or you'll find out

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Nov 30th, 2014 02:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Far as setting up the amp and guitar, try this (if it's just guitar and amp, for clean tones):

Have your guitar's controls on 10. Plug in and adjust your amp to the volume and tone you prefer when you'll be playing loudest. Leave your amp controls where they are, and then control everything (volume and tone) with the guitar's controls. You can also control volume by how hard you pick/strum, and tone by *where* you pick/strum, depending on your pickup selection.

If you like to be able to dial in a little dirt or grit while playing, modify the above scheme a little:

Set your guitar's tone on 10 and the vol on about 6. Plug in and set up your amp so you have a loud clean tone. Bring up the gain on the amp and reduce the master volume (if so equipped) so you have loud and clean, with the guitar's vol on 6.

This allows you 7-10 on your guitar vol to progressively dial in the amount of grit you like, because increasing the guitar's vol sends more voltage to the amp's preamp stage and that adds dirt to the signal.

Best approach is to experiment with your particular amp and guitar to see what settings work best for your ear and style.

Once you settle on favorite knob locations on your amp, place a little dot of Wite-Out (or tape) at your preferred knob pointer locations to serve as your 'baseline' settings.

catnineblue

LA , Calif

Lost on the blue ball
Mar 9th, 2015 10:37 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've always had both electric and acoustic.

I really can't offer much advice . I don't like light gauge strings on an electric simply because back when I started playing no one offered 9'or10's.What you got were either Gibson med, reg or heavy or black Diamond and replace the wound G with a plain B. Since I was so used to that I tried 10's but I couldn't feel them so I went back to 13's to 58 which felt like the old heavy gauge to me. I also went through quite a few amps and found for me less is best so I go for simple a vol and tone and maybe a vol, treb and bass nothing else simply because all the extra knobs make it almost impossible for me to find a spot I like or the sweet spot as many call it. I also like the action high enough so the strings meet my finger tip dead center so the action is high and I need large frets to get the feel and tone out I want I like to be able to really dig in as well as back off for texture I just can't do that with light gauge strings. On the other hand I have trouble with acoustics . I tend to beat them to hard and find the small frets make it difficult to get a clean tone. Years ago I had two Gibson acoustics but both had med jumbo frets and saddles you could adjust for the action. I had to learn to back off quite a bit on the newer acoustics I have now or I get fret buzz probably because I try to force the guitar to much to achieve volume I use 12 to 53's on the 3 acoustics I have I would go to 13's if the guitars could handle it . I stick with what came on the acoustics so I don't end up with issues. They are not quite like an electric in that manner.

You really have to experiment to find out if you want your tone from the amp or guitar or both like many do and try to find a string gauge that allows the electric to feel more like the acoustic then you can go lighter if that is what you want. Scale length makes a lot of difference as well as string gauge.

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Mar 12th, 2015 11:42 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Peegoo's advice is very good.

I struggle with my guitar student who is always turning his guitar down too much. I think electrics generally sound better turned up, unless you really know what you're doing and why, even if the amp is set to low volume.

But yeah, relax your hands, play lighter and turn up.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Looking for an answer




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