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> How Different Are Guitars Really?
chakie
post Oct 2 2009, 01:34 PM
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I'm using a fairly cheap guitar I bought as part of a starter pack two years ago. It's a Yamaha something and I think it's served me quite well. I've never really played on anything else, especially not on anything more expensive, thus I can't really compare guitars.

Recently I've started to try to learn barré (bar?) chords properly but I have a hard time making them sound clean. This is something I guess any new player struggles with, but one would assume that after a few weeks of practice I'd manage to get at least one chord ring out nicely on the first try. This is not the case, they are always muddled and don't sound good. I feel that I have to press down on the fretboard with an ungodly amount of force and my hand tires in a minute of playing. Partially this is because I still seem to lack power in my left hand and likely have a lacking technique. But, can one part also be because of the guitar? Do guitars differ in this aspect, i.e. can one be easier to play and another much heavier?

I don't visit the local music shops at all, I always feel like such an idiot when I step into them and see all these wizards shredding away when they test guitars or amps while I struggle to play the easiest little riff. Then they laugh when I "test" something. So I haven't really compared guitars myself. But perhaps I should just bite the bullet, hide my shame and go test some new guitars? There's always a risk that if better gear means easier to play that I end up adding some stuff i can't really afford to my credit card. smile.gif
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vampire18
post Oct 2 2009, 01:52 PM
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first of all, bar or not you should defintely go test out some gutiars, its good fun. every shredder started just like you. you cant be so self concience about your playing, no one was born with guitar skills.
about the gutiar being different, well they have gutiars with bigger fretts that might make it easier or thinner neck or lower action or something, but its minor differences and shouldnt be a factor at all. bar chords are just hard to do at first. yamaha might make some lower end gutiars but i doubt its so bad that for some reason you cant bar it. just keep practicing.


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OzRob
post Oct 2 2009, 01:53 PM
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Everyone starts somewhere....they are the idiots for laughing at you.

Anyways, perhaps the action on your guitar is too low or the neck truss rod is not set correctly.
Depending on your budget, you might get a techie to have a look at it for you, or a knowledgeable
friend who knows how to set them up.

On the other hand, "guitars ain't guitars". When you pick up a well-made guitar you can feel it.
If you really do have a dog in your hands it will frustrate you and you'll lose motivation to learn.


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ZakkWylde
post Oct 2 2009, 01:55 PM
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It could be your guitar working a bit against you but I think it's mostly because of lacking lefthand strngth and experience.

As for guitars:
The diffrence is gigantic between guitars! Even two of the same guitars won't sound exactly the same and now imagine the vast variety of diffrent brands, woods, necks, pickups, bridges, shapes...
A higher quality guitar with a good setup should make the playing easier for you, it's no use if your guitar is a hindrance to your progress!

Don't mind all the shredders at the stores, they once started out like you and you will find every stage of guitar playing skills at a store, even guys who are worse than you! Go out and test everything you can get your hands on!


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MickeM
post Oct 2 2009, 02:08 PM
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chakie
post Oct 2 2009, 02:11 PM
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I've been quite happy with my guitar so far. I guess it's cheap(ish) but stuff sounds quite nice and I don't think I could benefit too much soundwise from a better guitar. I have tested cheap guitars that definitely sounded worse than mine and where the build quality screamed "cheap!". But if an expensive guitar isn't easier to play then I might as well save the money for now.

I did have a techie look at the guitar some months ago and he adjusted something on the neck. I remember that made it a lot easier to play on, so perhaps the neck has again become twisted or something? I treat my guitar well, but perhaps it's just something that changes with moisture, heat etc?
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 2 2009, 02:30 PM
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QUOTE (chakie @ Oct 2 2009, 12:34 PM) *
...

I don't visit the local music shops at all, I always feel like such an idiot when I step into them and see all these wizards shredding away when they test guitars or amps while I struggle to play the easiest little riff. Then they laugh when I "test" something. ...


Ignore them if you can smile.gif . Most of them aren't there to really try out something with any intention of making a purchase; they're just there showing off to their mates. They forget that we all started at the beginning and tbh many of them aren't anywhere near as good as they and their mates think they are rolleyes.gif .

If you can't ignore them then take Muris along for the day and he'll blow them away cool.gif .


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Fran
post Oct 2 2009, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE (chakie @ Oct 2 2009, 02:34 PM) *
.... I feel that I have to press down on the fretboard with an ungodly amount of force and my hand tires in a ....

.... Then they laugh when I "test" something ....


Barre chords take time.

Practice them in the middle of the neck, you'll probably find it easier to start. Most people discover them playing an F, and that's one of the hardest as it's the closest position to the nut, and the strings are a bit harder to fret there. It's not a matter of strength, but rather finding that sweet spot where your index frets all strings. Again, practice it daily but maybe for 5 minutes only, then change, and come back later. It takes time.


As for visiting shops and trying out guitars, those who laugh at you probably don't understand what music is all about to begin with. I'd feel sorry for them if I were you.
Just try all guitars you wish, it's your hard earned cash you are spending mate smile.gif



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Keilnoth
post Oct 2 2009, 03:27 PM
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I would definitely love to have a Muris, Emir or Kris or other guitar gods around to test some guitars in my local shop. tongue.gif


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chakie
post Oct 2 2009, 09:15 PM
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I tried my wife's old acoustic guitar today and 'lo and behold, there I could see that progress has been made! I managed to play the barré's quite nicely and event if not yet fluid or free of errors, it did sound a lot better than just a month or so when Ilast tried those chords on that guitar.

So my own electic guitar is just so much "heavier" and requires much more force for me to hold down the strings. But perhaps I'll see progress there too some day. smile.gif
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 2 2009, 09:29 PM
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If you see a shredder in the store that plays fast licks and pulls off crazy stuff for longer than 5 minutes, you know he is not there to buy, he is there to show. Nothing wrong there tho, we all like to play the guitars, so I generally stay lot longer in stores and play some more, can't help it, the guitars are great! The point is, don't pay attention to that, do what you came there to do. Try some guitars, play simple stuff, this is usually how guitars should be played and A/B tested.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Oct 2 2009, 09:30 PM


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jdriver
post Oct 3 2009, 03:22 AM
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You're probably playing a Pacifica, that's Yamaha's low end series and !!surprise!!, it's considered a pretty good guitar all things considered. So if you like it keep playing it but definitely get it checked again and maybe you should consider a session with a private teacher so you can be clear on technique.

As for guitar store shredders... mad.gif ... as Ivan pointed out, they're not there to buy, only to show off and wish for the day they could afford the guitars they are shredding on. If it bothers you, don't hesitate to ask the sales staff if there is a quiet place you can audition the guitar.

I participate in Guitar Center surveys they send me all the time, I'm sure many of you do as well. One of the things they are considering is providing "private" audition rooms. It's good business, because it tends to be the shy ones that have the money to actually buy one! smile.gif


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Boson
post Oct 3 2009, 08:30 AM
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QUOTE
How Different Are Guitars Really?


Kieth Richards of The Stones, who owns over 1000 guitars once said that no matter what guitar he plays "give me five minutes and I'll make 'em all sound the same."

Its the same for me! No matter what guitar I play they all sound rubbish sad.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

Seriously though my advice would be don't get too hung up on gear (I need to listen to that advice myself tongue.gif ). The holy grail of an axe that is instantly easy to play and sounds exactly as you want it to just does not exist. Try out as many guitars as you can and experiment, the guitar you currently have will have some sounds that you find pleasing. What Im saying is take your time and then when you do buy new gear you will then find that you have bought wisely.

This post has been edited by Boson: Oct 3 2009, 08:31 AM


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Torben
post Oct 3 2009, 08:57 AM
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Most of the things already said are good advice. So I only want to offer a new angle:

First get clear for yourself why you want another guitar. It includes many reasons, but my point is: I'm fond of wine. And since I live in Norway that's an expensive habit! So I kind of envy the nice, elderly ladies that find the cheap, sweet, German, white wines to be the best. Because they can have a lot more wine than I can afford! Since I prefer rather pricey French, Italian or Australians. You could end up finding out that for you the guitar you have is sufficient for some years still.

Second: Some guitarshops have small rooms (probably to improve the working conditions for the staff!) where you can try out guitars, without being disturbed. In your case: to hide from the shredder dudes, who apparently are eternal pretenders (and loosers?) , since they always hang around in musicshops in stead of playing in bands at concerts or rehearse at home. With U2. You should be laughing at them! If they really are serious, they will be like skiing instructors: they never laugh at beginners.

Personally I buy expensive gear because I can afford it! A little like when I motivate myself to jogging by investing in fancy gear. Clothes, shoes, pulse watch etc. It really inspires you. But it doesn't make you into haile gebrselassie!

Good luck! Overcome your fear and go and have fun!

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Sensible Jones
post Oct 3 2009, 10:56 AM
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QUOTE (chakie @ Oct 2 2009, 09:15 PM) *
So my own electic guitar is just so much "heavier" and requires much more force for me to hold down the strings. But perhaps I'll see progress there too some day. smile.gif

All good advice here so far!
I'd just like to add that it sounds to me like your Yamaha just needs setting up properly. It is worth taking it to your local Tech/Luthier for this and it shouldn't be too expensive. Once set up correctly it should be a lot easier to play and you'll really notice the difference!!
biggrin.gif


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jdriver
post Oct 3 2009, 08:14 PM
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One thing that hasn't been asked or mentioned, in regard to you having difficulty with barre chords... What gauge strings are you using? If you're using .10's, switch to .09's. They will seem super easy after using 10 or bigger.



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Emir Hot
post Oct 4 2009, 01:01 PM
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QUOTE (Keilnoth @ Oct 2 2009, 03:27 PM) *
I would definitely love to have a Muris, Emir or Kris or other guitar gods around to test some guitars in my local shop. tongue.gif

We can arrange it sometime if I am around smile.gif


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chakie
post Oct 4 2009, 03:17 PM
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Wow, thank you all for the advice and encouragement!

I guess I'll try taking the guitar to a shop and having it checked. One guy in a local shop here was very nice when I last had it checked and he could probably take a look.

As for getting a new guitar, well, I'm otherwise quite happy with my Yamaha, it's served me well during these two years of frustrating learning. I think the model is a SSG-20, but I'll be damned if I can find it anywhere anymore... Ought to be about150€ or, so very entry level. But I'll save the money for when my playing skills can benefit from some better gear. Not there yet. smile.gif

As for the strings, yeah, they are indeed 0.10. I was recommended them as I mostly want to play metal. But as I still like to learn non-metal rhythm guitar perhaps 0.09 would be a better choice for now (until I have a separate metal guitar, that is).
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