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Are acoustics SUPPOSED to be harder to play?

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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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I am very confused right now. As many of you know I have been learning Stairway to Heaven and its coming along VERY well...on my ELECTRIC guitar that is! When I try to play the same song on my acoustic it seems SOOO hard to push the strings down.

For those that don't know my acoustic is a Fender San Luis Rey ($400) and my electric is a Behringer V-Tone ($99+accessories). Looking at the way my acoustic is setup the action is OBVIOUSLY set MUCH lower than the electric. (I can't even put the pick between the 6th string and the 1st fret.). My electric has VERY high action but is MUCH easier to push the strings down.

As for strings on the Electric I have Dean Markley Blue Steel Lights and for the acoustic I have Adamas Phospher Bronze Lights. Are the strings making the difference or are acoustics naturally harder to play than electrics?

Thanks

PS...I ask because it is frustrating the HECK out of me! I would love to take my acoustic outside and play but I am too embarrassed to tell everyone "HONEST! I really do play much better on my electric guitar!"


   
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TwistedLefty
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yes , it's the law :wink:
i learned on an acoustic first so i guess it never occured to me really.

#4491....


   
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Primeta
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If you are using a thicker gauge of string on the acoustic (usual) yes it's going to be harder to press down.

"Things may get a whole lot worse/ Before suddenly falling apart"
Steely Dan
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Anonymous
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If you are using a thicker gauge of string on the acoustic (usual) yes it's going to be harder to press down.

I thought "lights" were supposed to be thin and easier to play...that's why I bought them...The "lights" on my electric are DEFINITELY easier than the ones that were on it when I bought it.


   
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Kyle
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they dont have to be. The main things that make them harder are:

1:Heavier Strings-This can be changed
2:Higher Action- This can be changed
3:Acoustics require far more craftmenship than an electric, so cheaper ones are usually extremely difficult to play and sound terrible, just do to how they were built and set up at the factory-This one can be avoided as long as you are patient when shopping and are willing to spend more money for a better guitar.

Acoustics are strung with heavy strings and built with high actions mainly becuase, for some weird reason, I think it is still the stereotype that Acoustics are for simple songs that require almost no single note lines or inflections. It is seen mainly as an instrument to accompany someone's singing voice. This changed long ago but the perception remains. Acoustics with heavy strings and high action fill this role well, but playing something which requires very fast and accurate single lines are way harder than they could be on acoustics.

So, change your strings to something lighter than what your using now, and have someone lower the action. I think you'll be happy with the results.

The meaning of life? I've never heard a simpler question! Music.


   
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Anonymous
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they dont have to be. The main things that make them harder are:

1:Heavier Strings-This can be changed
2:Higher Action- This can be changed
3:Acoustics require far more craftmenship than an electric, so cheaper ones are usually extremely difficult to play and sound terrible, just do to how they were built and set up at the factory-This one can be avoided as long as you are patient when shopping and are willing to spend more money for a better guitar.

Acoustics are strung with heavy strings and built with high actions mainly becuase, for some weird reason, I think it is still the stereotype that Acoustics are for simple songs that require almost no single note lines or inflections. It is seen mainly as an instrument to accompany someone's singing voice. This changed long ago but the perception remains. Acoustics with heavy strings and high action fill this role well, but playing something which requires very fast and accurate single lines are way harder than they could be on acoustics.

So, change your strings to something lighter than what your using now, and have someone lower the action. I think you'll be happy with the results.

Kyle, not to question what you said but you might want to read my original post...The action on my acoustic is about as low as it can go AND I am using LIGHTS for strings...


   
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Ignar Hillström
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Light accoustic strings are much thicker then light electric strings. Electric strings only need to create a tiny signal that can be amplified, accoustic strings need to make the top vibrate enough to create an audible sound.


   
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Primeta
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Light acoustic is actually thicker than for an electric
average electric is .09 - .010

acoustic is .012

Arjen beat me but yep

you can go sub .012 on acoustic but you will lose some volume

"Things may get a whole lot worse/ Before suddenly falling apart"
Steely Dan
"Look at me coyote, don't let a little road dust put you off" Knopfler


   
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Nils
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Yes Mike an acoustic is typically a little harder to play than an electric for a couple of reasons.

1) The strings are typically thicker (12's) on an acoustic to get the volume and ring and 10's on and electric (many have 9's) then

2) The string height (action) is usually 1/64 or so higher on an acoustic than an electric so it does not buzz and gives more volume.

Now, on both the electric and acoustic you should barely be able to get a thin pick under the 6th string at the 1st fret with nothing fretted. That is a rough measure of the nut height.

String height (action) is measured at the 12th fret (between the bottom of the string and top of fret wire) with nothing fretted. This should measure on average 5/64's at the low E (6th string) on an electric and 3/32's on an acoustic. The high e (1st string) is typically 1/64th or so less than the low E. Really a matter of preference.

It sounds like your electric is set up pretty good so I would check out the acoustic just to be sure it does not need some adjustments.

By the way, I use 10's on my electrics and 11's on my acoustics so they feel much more alike. Switching to lighter strings usually requires a neck relief (truss rod) adjustment due to less tension.

I hope this puts things in perspective for you and helps you understand why the transition between the two is sometimes difficult until you have done it for awhile.

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Anonymous
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So what should I get for my acoustic? Custom Lights?


   
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Nils
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So what should I get for my acoustic? Custom Lights?
Don't go by what they call them (Custom Lights) go but what they are (10's ,11's, 12's, 13's). Different manufacturers Custom Lights can be different sizes but the measurements are on the package.

I think I mentioned in my earlier post that 11's on the acoustic and 10's on the electric work best for me but you will need to experiment.

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Anonymous
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My acoustic doesn't have a truss rod adjuster....

Plus I just measured the action the best I could with a wooden ruler and here is what I got:

Acoustic: 5/32

Electric: 12/64

So as you can see the acoustic is a LOT closer to optimal than my electric...


   
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slejhamer
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Mike, try some low-tension Martin "Silk & Steel" strings on your acoustic. They are .115 gauge, but feel like 10s. Very smooth and easy to fret without giving up much volume at all. Nice tone, too.

Your acoustic's truss rod should be accessed via the soundhole.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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Anonymous
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Your acoustic's truss rod should be accessed via the soundhole.

AHHHHH! Thanks Mitch! I'll have to try those strings as well...


   
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Nils
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So, since both a very high more than likely it is the strings that are making the acoustic much harder to play.

However, don't rule out NUT height since that is what can really make a barre chord hard from the 1st to the 5th or so fret and string height makes the rest harder. Fret the low E lightly on the 3rd fret and you should just barely be able to get a piece of newspaper to go under the string at the 1st fret wire.

It sounds to me that you would gain significantly with a good setup on both. Since you are OK with the electric I would get the acoustic done.

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