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> Are Some Guitars Better Than Others For Rhythm Than Lead?
Praetorian
post Mar 19 2010, 02:13 AM
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I have noticed that some guitars are easier to play lead riffs on...and others seem easier to strum chords and power chords on. Is it just my preference or are some guitars more suited to rhythm than lead?


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JVM
post Mar 19 2010, 05:21 AM
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A lot has to do with the neck dimensions. A flatter neck radius will result in easier bending/vibrato, and smaller radius necks tend to be nicer for chords, the slightly rounded curve of the fingerboard while hampering bending ability slightly also makes your fingers more comfortable in chord positions. Some necks even have compound radius, where it is rounder near the nut for easier chords and flatter towards the body for lead.

Thats a little different too than the back of the neck shape, which pretty much dictates how thick/thin the neck is overall. Thicker necks tend to sustain a little longer and provide better "grip" on the fingerboard which can result in easier bends/vibrato, while thinner necks are easier to shred on. Here's some neck radius info off the top of my head:

vintage fenders had I think 7.25 or 7.5 inch radius necks, very round. nowadays they have around 9.5.

gibsons have 10 inches i think.

carvin guitars employ the compound radius which goes from 10 inches near the nut to 16 by the body.

String guage too makes a big difference. You can put heavy strings on a flat radius, thin neck ibanez but you'll probably have an easier time ripping leads on a thick les paul neck with a vintage radius, that has light strings installed.

There are many variables going into the playability of a guitar, and often what makes one thing better is really a tradeoff in some respects. You just have to try them out and find what works best for you.


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Praetorian
post Mar 19 2010, 12:43 PM
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So if I understand you correctly...lighter gauge strings are better for chords?


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ZakkWylde
post Mar 19 2010, 12:51 PM
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It's all preferance, and I mean ALL!

You can play anything on any guitar with any string gauge and any neck dimensions... A fast shredder won't be 10 bpms faster on an Ibanez neck if he was playing a Les Paul - he is as fast as he can on the guitar he is accustomed to!

SRV used uberthick strings and a Vintage fret radius - two things that make bending harder - and he bended like a god because he was used to it! Jeff Loomis is shredding faster and better than 99,9% of us and he does that on a Schecter 7 String which has an extremely wide neck (7 String) a really thick neck (as fat as a Les Paul Neck) and a longer Scale length (26,5'').

It really comes down to what you prefer. People say that Strat types are the easiest to play; I can't play on a strat standing up! You must find what is the most comfortable to you and that is the guitar you play best on, regardless what others say!


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Marcus Siepen
post Mar 19 2010, 01:04 PM
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I agree with Zakk, it all depends on what you like. Many people would consider a Les Paul to be a great guitar for leads, others would hate it cause it is a bit tricky to reach the highest frets, other guitars have different cutaways that allow you to reach them much easier. Does this make a Les paul a bad guitar for leads??? I doubt wink.gif As long as you feel fine with whatever guitar you have, go and have fun with it, there is no reason in the world why you should not be able to play lead or rhythm (or both) on a guitar. The only thing you should keep in mind is the sound that you want to get out of it, if you are playing in a country band then I would not pick a 7 string baritone guitar, while in a death metal band you will find only a few telecasters I guess wink.gif


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JVM
post Mar 19 2010, 02:16 PM
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QUOTE (Praetorian @ Mar 19 2010, 06:43 AM) *
So if I understand you correctly...lighter gauge strings are better for chords?


Lighter gauge strings tend to be easier to bend, making them good for lead playing but they also don't have the same tone. Heavier strings definitely sound fuller, which makes them sound better for almost everything really, but are harder to bend. So in general, a rhythm guitarist might have heavy strings on his axe for a chunky sound, and a lead player might have somewhat lighter strings (or not, as Zakk said SRV could do it all even on ridiculously heavy strings).

This post has been edited by JVM: Mar 19 2010, 02:17 PM


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Adrian Figallo
post Mar 19 2010, 03:05 PM
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QUOTE (Marcus Siepen @ Mar 19 2010, 07:04 AM) *
I agree with Zakk, it all depends on what you like. Many people would consider a Les Paul to be a great guitar for leads, others would hate it cause it is a bit tricky to reach the highest frets, other guitars have different cutaways that allow you to reach them much easier. Does this make a Les paul a bad guitar for leads??? I doubt wink.gif As long as you feel fine with whatever guitar you have, go and have fun with it, there is no reason in the world why you should not be able to play lead or rhythm (or both) on a guitar. The only thing you should keep in mind is the sound that you want to get out of it, if you are playing in a country band then I would not pick a 7 string baritone guitar, while in a death metal band you will find only a few telecasters I guess wink.gif


+1, agree with zakk and with you marcus.
it's all about the sound you are looking for smile.gif


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Marcus Siepen
post Mar 20 2010, 01:01 PM
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JVM is right about the strings. I would never recommend too thin strings though cause in my opinion they don't sound as good as thicker ones and you also really have to be carefull with how hard you pick them cause you will easily ruin your intonation. I am using a mixed set, my low e, a and d strings are from a 012 set, while the other one are from a 010 set, perfect mix for me, they give me a fat rhythm tone and I can still do bends on the high strings without having to go to the gym before wink.gif


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