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> Guitar Ergonomics
post Mar 5 2007, 06:31 PM
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Have you ever played a guitar that was different from yours but could not play it very well, yet the person that owns the guitar play it just fine? It appears that you get used to a certain feeling (your guitar) that another guitar might or might not have. I'm posting this because yesterday I came across something interesting, something I didn't realize. Now, my very first electric guitar was a '68 SG (the remains of which can be seen at the introduce forum sad.gif ), and that's what I learned on, what I was used to. If I picked up a Strat, it was game over. It just didn't feel right. This is what I would I would have complained about at the time: The strings are too close to the body, the bridge is too far back, can't reach the upper frets, volume knob in the way, too much radius in the fretboard, when standing the guitar tilts backwards making it uncomfortable for your wrist.... you get the idea. I think alot of Gibson players would have these same complaints if they picked up a Strat for the first time.
Anyway, I knew I had to get away from the SG. It didn't do clear high gain at all, and the shift-left position it has when standing hurts your back after a while ( this becomes worse as you get older blink.gif ). A strat-style guitar would take care of this. To this day, I still don't like the way the neck tilts back when standing up, so I always relocate the horn button to another place. But I have gotten used to all the other "issues", except for one that I didn't even know about until yesterday. I had a Warmoth SG body laying around but never used it because it looked "fat" and didn't have a neck for it ( one of those "hell, I'll buy that" ebay purchases). I pulled the neck off my strat neck and put it on the SG. It felt good but the srings were too far from the body (yeah, I'm used to a strat now). So I lowered the bridge all the way and readjusted the neck. Wow, it felt good and it seemed like I was playing it better than the strat! My right hand felt like it was picking more accurately.
After a while of standing up, the lack of rear and arm contours was getting to me ( this is a 1 3/4" thick body, unlike a real SG's 1 1/4"). I said screw it, I'll put an arm contour on it. ( I wasn't too crazy about the sound of this body anyway). So I did, and guess what? I couldn't play it anymore!!! My left hand felt totally sloppy and inaccurate now! WTF?!!
After a few seconds I realized that my left hand technique is is based on forearm and wrist movement. The forearm requiring a "pivot point" in order to move freely. After I carved the SG, there was no more pivot point for my arm, so my playing went to hell. This also explains why play the strat better sitting down than standing up. Sitting down, my arm is at the rear of the guitar, where there is minimum bevel and thus a "pivot point". Standing up, my arm is right on that bevel, and I have unconsiously compensated for that by strapping it higher to my body, trying to get back to that pivot point.
I guess the whole point of this thread is your technique is bound to the type of guitar that you play, or that type of guitar you play has an influence on your technique. I have 2 options: to learn to play with alot less forearm, or get a guitar body that doesn't have an arm contour. In retrospect, I wish my first guitar was a strat! tongue.gif

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