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Acoustic Vs. Electric Guitar.

posted on #1
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Joined: 03.12.14
Hello Wikiloops... I've been thinking about something lately, and that's the acoustic vs the electric.

I've been playing both electric and acoustic guitar for years now, and my first instrument to pick up was a classical acoustic guitar, nylon strings, santana no. 8

I tend to play classical pieces on the classical guitar, (Hello mr. obvious) stuff like Bach's Bouree in e-minor, Cello Suite no. 1 (prelude) or Edvard Grieg's in the hall of a mountain king (peer gynt), but i also mess around with some more "casual" fingerstyle playing such as Tears in Heaven by Eirc Clapton etc.. you get the point here.

On the electric, i also enjoy playing me some Clapton or other "softie" music, but i prefer to play metal music on it, i find it very funny and challenging.

However,.. i actually feel like i can't PLAY the electric. Don't get me wrong here, i know how to play a note on my electric guitar.. i just feel like my playing lacks tone, it lacks feeling and i can't seem to make the instrument really shrine through. But when i play classical guitar i think my notes sound beautiful, they sound full, they ring nicely, and it feels so many times more smooth playing the classical than the electric guitar for me.

I did start out with fingerstyle playing back in the day. But over the years i think i've been playing electric more than my acoustic, and yet... it just feels "off" when i play the electric. Perhaps im just an acoustic player by heart.

Does anyone else feel this way? does anyone know why or have any theories?
Edited by Pedersen on November 20 2016 01:17
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #2
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Joined: 16.10.11
I as a bass and guitar player have found that I like the guitar but my love is the bass I get into the same feeling you have stated and don't know why. The only thing I can say it is a musicians nightmare. And there is really no answer to why!!!!!
posted on #3
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Joined: 03.12.14
Glad to know i'm not alone atleast.
I actually want to buy a bass eventually, and it's getting to the point where im debating to buy an acoustic bass (Not the upright one), simply because of this.
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #4
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Joined: 25.03.12
For me playing is much more than just knowing where the notes are. And also, Classical, steel string fingerstyle and electric are TOTALLY different instruments (and bass being still another instrument). My solution was to develop a technique of my own that works on all guitars. But that has been a very harsh road for a decade and a half and i am nowhere finished.

There are some players that have managed the same task, Lindsey Buckingham, Nils Lofgren and Mark Knopfler come to mind first.

What foremost differentiates classical, electric, fingerstyle and bass is that that they require totally different right hand techniques. Even if you leave out a flatpicks and thumbpicks the way of producing a note is very different. For me about 70% to 80% of the problems i encounter originate from the right hand alternatively from left/right hand coordination. In that perspective i find it a little bit strange that most material is left hand orientated.

The classical free strokes and rest strokes are specifically developed for the properties of gut and nylon strings and cannot be easily applied to other instruments maybe with the exception of bass.

Steel strings on the other hand are not that sensitive to tone shaping but are a lot harder on the nails. Also different string gauges require different techniques. Light strings tend to "stick" to the finger or nail producing inconsistencies. The right hand fingers tend to be more curved when playing steel compared to nylon producing a different tone and using other muscles.

The most difficult thing i encountered, apart from developing thumb/finger independence, was developing enough degrees of freedom in order to be able to improvise single note lines. Bass players tend to be good at this but again, the stroking technique is very different and hard to apply to a guitar with much narrower string spacing.

When it comes to left hand techniques slurs and bends work totally different on nylon, thin steel or heavy steel.

An additional instrument i consider incorporating technique from is the Ukulele. There is some pretty exiting stuff developed there
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #5
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Joined: 27.09.14
I played for years only acoustic guitar, and when I bought my Strat I had terrible problems playing it, I felt disconnected from it. Also using an amp was so strange, I just could not "feel" the guitar. But over time this got less and less, and now the Strat feels like it is part of me. I still play acoustic, I never lost that part although I think I tend to use electric style vibrato now on the acoustic...having said that, I am not particularity good on either, and I play simple rock so maybe it is not that noticeable. But your post brought back the memory of this remoteness I felt - I remember seeing bands play live n huge concert halls and thinking how do they do that???? :)
posted on #6
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Joined: 19.08.13
Acoustic and electric guitar are two complete different instruments to learn. Like trumpet and piano.

If you can express your emotions on one instrument, you can can call yourself a musician. If you are able to catch the emotions of other musicians at the same time, you have learned to be a band member, too.

I need to practise. I can't play without investing time. The main "problem" is self-monitoring. First you get the tone in your inner ear, then the feedback comes from the strings to your ears.

If it gets too loud this feedback gets lost if you love to play in silence.

Every musician needs to prectise what he wants to do. And of course if you never attempt to use metal picks you can never record the sound of metal picks picking your guitar. Electric or acoustic. Sounds great on a 12-string if you have a place to pra tise loudly all day long...

In short, do what you can do the best and have fun in learning other instruments or techniques, too.
posted on #7
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Joined: 05.02.16
Hi folks. I am a piano player and it is also a nightmare for us.
I grow up playing the piano.
When I turned into a teenager I begin to join bands and gigs.
For obvious reasons I needed to start to play keyboard but everything is different. It's another instrument.
Until now I struggle to make the keys sound as I want to and I think I will never be comfortable in front of a keyboard as I am playing the piano.
I could say a million technical reasons why and that would be boring, specially in a guitar topic forum.
Anyway electro and accoustic will never be the same.
I really think that trying to be good on both is another fun challenge for us musicians:)
posted on #8
Posts: 250
Joined: 30.04.16
knowing what it takes to get the sound you are after is really the key and that only comes from the practice.

A lot of the time I will play my electric unplugged as I watch a basketball game or so, when I go to record I find what I was playing to get a decent sound with no power, once the power/effects is introduced I have to adjust, sometimes the adjustment takes as long as the time I was playing non electrically to get what I feel is satisfactory
and often the whole sound of the piece I was developing has changed into something else.
posted on #9
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Joined: 08.04.14
"TURN IT UP" !....just kidding.. though if you do , the body of an electric comes alive and wants to be played. hmmmmm,,, not good with words,
but loud, and the guitar is trying to feedback into the strings.
i play completely differently when i play into headphones with no sound "in the room' which is how i work on wikiloops most of the time.
weirdly i don't often get to play acoustic because it would be to loud in the house at night.
posted on #10
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Joined: 03.12.14
kimbo wrote:
"TURN IT UP" !....just kidding.. though if you do , the body of an electric comes alive and wants to be played. hmmmmm,,, not good with words,
but loud, and the guitar is trying to feedback into the strings.
i play completely differently when i play into headphones with no sound "in the room' which is how i work on wikiloops most of the time.
weirdly i don't often get to play acoustic because it would be to loud in the house at night.

Yea, you might have a point here.. i really don't play my electric with an amp and if i do, it's usually cranked down quite a bit because i live in an apartment.. i pretty much stick to my headphones. Maybe you're right about the electric guitar needing a loud amp before it really shrines through, it sorta makes sense.. :p it's build for it.
My picture = Faceswapping with a wax doll.. yea, creepy. <3
posted on #11
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Posts: 78
Joined: 25.08.14
No need to crank the amp up…you don’t want your playing drown in distortion.
A good guitar, a moderate action of the strings, and a good amp will do the trick.
If possible (can’t be done in every music style) throw away your pick and use your FINGERS! You will find out that you can play much more sensitive on an electric then on a classic guitar.
On a classic guitar you can play the notes in a range of sensibilities; it will only make the notes sounds louder or less loud, (the tone color will only change slightly on a very expensive guitar.)
On an electric guitar the amp plays a significant role in the sound; every note played with a certain sensivety has an impact on the sound, from thin to aggressive, from faint to nasty, from shy to prominent etc.…..because the sensitivity will change the glow of the tubes and will change the drive of the sound.
You can do bends up, bends down, use your whammy bar, do unnatural harmonics with the right hand, play the notes with the thump or another finger, do some slightly damping with the right hand, just to shorten the release of the tone…. it all will change the color of the sound.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like the classic guitar, it was my first love and I still love it very much , I graduated from the conservatorium in Antwerp as a classic guitar player, been a classic guitar teacher for a few decades, but when it comes to possibility’s to express feelings , I choose the electric .
Nilton already made the point: you can’t play an electric as an acoustic or a classic guitar, they are totally different instruments.
Same as playing organ like a piano, or playing sax like a clarinet or play the tom like it was your snare…
posted on #12
Posts: 250
Joined: 30.04.16
I was doing a TV commercial a for a Music Store quite some years back(16 maybe)and Had a guitar player and a bass player come to my home studio to record a music bed of this Latin styled music.
Anyway I'm recording the bass player and he has the headphones on--only he can hear his part.
I was thinking to myself. Wow I thought this guy was going to be way better than this!
So I listen to his take afterward--think he did it in one or two takes, and he was playing a rhythm part and thumpin bassline at the same time. And I heard hardly almost NONE of that!, He was playing so sensitively!

Also had a friend who I jammed with regularly during that time come over. The guy is a GREAT guitar player, with a monster sound with tone speed and finesse and would wail with his guitar. I set him up the same way I did the bass player and he played and AGAIN I thought to myself WOW, this is not going to be good!
It was GREAT. He was just playing so softly.

When we would jam through amps, I would have never thought he played soft like that, but learned a lot from those two times. I still dig into my strings on my electric too much but I do love the fingers now too!
Edited by Leftdaloops1019 on November 23 2016 15:42
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