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Change of Life

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(@billybenbob)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 77
Topic starter  

Help! I've always played rhythm, mostly on my acoustic 12 string. Usually in church or around a campfire.
I now have purchased one of the 51's and a Roland Cube 30.
I don't have a clue how to use or play this stuff.
Any advice?

I wanted to learn to play guitar really badly and I think that I have succeeded.


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Learn palm muting - very important playing rhythm on electric!

And - like Wes Inman told me a couple of years ago, when he posted Brown Sugar on easy songs - you don't have to play every string.....he's done it again with "Saturday Night's Alright" recently, all partial chords....

Don't be afraid to experiment....and remember, on an electric, less is more!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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BTW, the "Metal Stack" setting on the Cube30 - with aabout 70% reverb - is fabulous for playing a long, slow blues solo....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@off-he-goes)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1259
 

BTW, the "Metal Stack" setting on the Cube30 - with aabout 70% reverb - is fabulous for playing a long, slow blues solo....

:D :D :D

Vic

I'll second that. Awesome sound out of those cubes. It was pretty insane on my friends Warlock, but my LP could rip awesome blues solos on it.

Paul

Vacate is the word...Vengance has no place on me or her...Cannot find a comfort in this world.


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Hi Billybenbob,

I'm pretty much mainly a strum along campfire style acoustic player too. My Strat copy mostly sits in a corner gathering dust. But when I do fancy a bit of electronic racket I start by playing scale patterns on various parts of the neck and then try improvising tunes. There's a lot of new stuff to get the feel of with all those different sounds and amp settings, etc. so I've found that it's been easier to start back with simple single note stuff while I get the feel for how it all fits.

If you're used to playing mostly open chords up in the first position on an acoustic you might find that they sound pretty poor on electric - when you were hoping that they'd actually sound even fuller and better through an amp. At least that was my experience. But apparently, for technical reasons, open chords actually sound worse on an electric. So the style we're used to doesn't transfer 100% successfully to electric, you have to adjust your methods somewhat.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's more than just adding some amplification. In some ways it's like learning a new instrument, so going back to basics and retracing some of the early learning path seems to pay off. Of course it would be better if I could tell you how you do that, but I'm still finding that out myself. :oops:

Others here will know more though. :)

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@billybenbob)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 77
Topic starter  

So the style we're used to doesn't transfer 100% successfully to electric, you have to adjust your methods somewhat.

Yeah, I've already decided that open chords weren't working. Unfortunately, that's about all that I used as barring the 12 string was not all that easy.
And thanks for the amp setting recomendation. I'll give it a try in the morning.
I'm quite looking forward to re-learning the guitar. I'm hoping that by the time I grow up, I'll get to be pretty good. I've got plenty of time as I'm only 50 now.

I wanted to learn to play guitar really badly and I think that I have succeeded.


   
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(@indiana_jonesin)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 190
 

I'm quite looking forward to re-learning the guitar. I'm hoping that by the time I grow up, I'll get to be pretty good. I've got plenty of time as I'm only 50 now.
Awesome. That is totally inspiring. I'm only 39, been playing 5 months, and I may never catch up-but I'll keep at it!

"Yes and an old guitar is all that he can afford,
when he gets up under the lights to play his thing..."-Dire Straits
http://www.myspace.com/misterpete42


   
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(@ab0msnwman)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 125
 

this board always makes me feel good . . . i started at 18 (22 now) and i thought i started late haha


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

So the style we're used to doesn't transfer 100% successfully to electric, you have to adjust your methods somewhat.

Yeah, I've already decided that open chords weren't working. Unfortunately, that's about all that I used as barring the 12 string was not all that easy.
And thanks for the amp setting recomendation. I'll give it a try in the morning.
I'm quite looking forward to re-learning the guitar. I'm hoping that by the time I grow up, I'll get to be pretty good. I've got plenty of time as I'm only 50 now.

(FWIW, I have both a Cube 30 and a couple of '51s.) ...

You certainly can use open chords. In fact, chimey, open chords are one of the joys of a clean-playing Fender -- including the '51. But it's going to take more control than you may be used to exercising. A twelve-string (once tuned!) is a very forgiving rhythm instrument, and a Fender-type is not, especially when played clean. You may not need to play all strings on every chord. It depends on how clean you are playing (amp-wise) and the nature of the sound you want.

Something you should consider is upping the gauge to at least 10s. Also make sure the nut on the '51 is cut properly and the intonation is set-up. All of these will help the open chord and lower fret intonation. The reason to up the gauge is so you can strum a bit harder, and to keep your less-practiced finger pressure from detuning notes; it's very easy to press too hard or push those 9s sideways slightly when playing. The resulting chords can be nasty.

You'll get the open chords working eventually -- and it's worth it.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I agree with Greg, you can play an electric guitar exactly like an acoustic, I have probably given the wrong impression.

A rhythm guitarist especially will often play open or barre chords with a clean tone. In cases like this you can play full 6 string chords. Try a little chorus effect, sounds great with clean chords played like this.

When playing with overdrive or distortion, this is when you will generally play on less strings. This produces a much tighter tone. Full chords can often sound muddy with distortion.

And lead guitarists usually play on less strings. While your rhythm guitarist is playing full chords, often the lead guitarist will play power chords on the bass strings, or a riff on the bass. This will give a fullness to the rhythm section and keeps the distorted guitar from covering the clean guitar up.

So, didn't want to give the impression that you can't play full chords on electric. But using distortion, especially high gain like Metal, then partial chords are better.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@billybenbob)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 77
Topic starter  

Something you should consider is upping the gauge to at least 10s.I've purchased a set of 10's, but haven't been home long enough to put them on yet.
I was hoping that thie would help as I'm used to needing a quite a bit of pressure fretting the 12.
I truely thank everyone for your words of wisdom. I've noticed from some other threads, that I'm not the only middle-aged acoustic strumming learning new tricks.

I wanted to learn to play guitar really badly and I think that I have succeeded.


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

I agree with Greg, you can play an electric guitar exactly like an acoustic, I have probably given the wrong impression.

Wes,

When you say "Exactly like an acoustic" what do you mean please? When I've asked questions about this here before (and of teachers) I've been told that the techniques are not exactly the same - but do need to be different.

The reasons that I have been given are that when you play a string it doesn't just produce a single tone, but there are all sorts of other things happening too. Not sure of the correct terms, but it was something along the lines of overtones, harmonics or whatever. With an electric these can quickly start clashing with each other as the sound 'decays' or 'sustains' or whatever and this is particularly noticeable on open strings. (If I've remembered the explanations correctly).

Sure you can play open chords on an electric - and I do - but the way you approach them in terms of touch, or feel or whatever does seem not to be exactly the same. The difference in approach might be subtle, or hard to explain, but it does seem to be a real issue for people swapping over from acoustic to electric.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

Clarifying: I just meant it's possible to play and get very good results with open chords. One must use a lighter touch, sometimes careful muting, and pay attention to the particular strings one uses -- especially where saturation and distortion are involved.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Clarifying: I just meant it's possible to play and get very good results with open chords.

Thanks - I'll try and apply your suggestions. :)

As a beginner, I come across this problem a lot - the advice from more experienced players often seems hard to apply, or even 'wrong'. But what's happening is that something that's second nature to an experienced player has been left out of the explanation. It either seems too obvious to mention, or (more often) they don't even realise that it might be an issue. And it puzzles the heck out of a beginner taking it at face value. We can easily take it the wrong way.

Examples include barre chords, where books routinely neglect to mention that there might be six months of effort and frustration between one paragraph of text and the next.

Another is going to the 'easy songs' section of a forum or book and finding that the chords might be relatively easy but without additional skills in timing, rhythm, and a bunch of other right hand stuff, - not to mention having the abiliity to carry the melody line with your voice - then the so called 'easy song' isn't always easy at all, for a beginner! :?

Once I've mastered something it's hard to remember why and how it was ever hard - or what subtle changes in placement, style or attack made the difference - it just "sort of happens" now. :wink:

I remember hearing about a master class given by a very famous classical player. A student asked how one did a particularly impressive thing that he'd just demonstrated. The 'maestro' looked at her crossly and said "you just do it..." . True enough, but useless as advice to a student.

Maybe he really didn't know how to break down what the essential elements of what he'd done were? Who knows. But it's not always easy to explain the more subtle aspects of sound production.

Anybody else like to take a stab at explaining what we should do differently when we play open chords on an electric? If I pick up my electric and play it exactly like I do my acoustic it sounds poor. It's not because I'm a bad player - I'm actually pretty reasonable on acoustic. It's because something needs to be changed - it's just hard to pinpoint precisely what it is. Which is why I tend to go back to basics and treat it in some respects as being a new instrument. There may be a better way though. :)

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Aha,

I just found another quote from Wes on the topic:
And rhythm is a little different on electric. You don't generally play full 6 string chords. You do, but most playing on electric is done on 1, 2, and 3 strings. So learn to play smaller partial chords. Partial chords are much clearer and less muddy than full chords on electric, especially when using overdrive or distortion. Playing rhythm guitar on electric can be easier because you are fretting less notes, but you have to get used to alternate fingerings you may not be so familiar with.

He says pretty much the same as above, but for reason I seem to be getting the message better from this quote. I probably was misreading his post on this thread, or putting emphasis in the wrong spots.

I'm sure I've also been told that open string chords on electrics will usually sound bad if left to ring for too long. This seems to tie in with Vic' advice about palm muting??. So... does this sound right:

1. Rhythm on electric will often be played on less strings than an acoustic.

2. Some chords (Is that particularly open ones? Or not?) should not be left to ring for as long as you might on an acoustic (solution: palm muting).

3. Amp settings make a big difference to how long you can hold a chord sound for, and how many strings you can get away with using.

Is that the idea? Any more tips or corrections please. :)

Cheers,

Chris


   
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