Thoughts on Acoustic Guitars (Part I)

This entry was posted by on Monday, 5 April, 2010 at

A week or two ago, I put new strings on my acoustic guitar. For those keeping track, that would be the second time in its nine year life. “Serious” guitar players change their strings once a month or so, but I am, first of all, lazy; plus I really do not like the sound of fresh strings. They are so bright and twangy, go out of tune quickly, and are much more “nuanced.” That last one would be a good thing for a skilled player, but for a sloppy player, it just reveals all the mistakes that much more clearly. So I was playing my freshly strung guitar, suddenly reminded of how much I dislike acoustic guitars.

I really do not understand why anyone prefers acoustic over electric guitars. Aside from the lack of additional necessary equipment of course. Some one probably wants to say “tone” as well, but tone is highly subjective, and even the comments I have on not so subjective facts is a lengthy discussion in itself. As for me, I always feel like playing acoustic guitar is a battle that I usually lose.

First of all, the stings on an acoustic are generally under higher tension than on an electric for reasons I that will not go in to, so it is physically more difficult to play from the start. Also, “fragile” is not quite the word I am looking for, but acoustic guitars are not entirely structurally sound. Certainly less so than electrics, which are essentially a solid slab of wood. The string tension will actually bow the neck and distort the top of an acoustic guitar, making them even harder to play over time. There are adjustments that can be made to compensate for this, up to a point, but eventually it becomes necessary to actually take the neck off the guitar and reset it to reestablish the correct neck-string-body angles. For an expensive guitar, this is worth the cost and effort, for a cheap one, you probably should just get a new one.

I can not help but wonder if this is a secret that girls do not know, because it is rare to find a girl that plays electric guitar, and perhaps more of them would, and for that matter, even more might play guitar at all, if they knew that electric guitars were so much easier.

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