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Tips For Playing Electric Acoustic Guitar
For the experienced player, an acoustic guitar is an
indispensable songwriting tool, practice partner, and the most
portable means to take your music with you. Here's a series tips
for playing an acoustic electric guitar designed to help you get
the most out of this versatile instrument.
Whether you are a songwriter, guitar teacher, coffee shop
musician, studio musician or someone who just plays purely for
pleasure the sound of an acoustic guitar can enhance your project
and inspire your creativity.
Sometimes, because of the volume of the other instruments in the
band, the size of the venue or particular recording project we're
working on, it's necessary to amplify the acoustic guitar ... it
happens to all of us so we need to be prepared!
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 1
If you are buying an acoustic electric guitar there's an
incredible range to choose from, the first thing to keep in mind
is that no matter pick-up, microphone, effects unit, amplifier or
P.A you run your guitar through they can only amplify the
That's the key, you should get the best acoustic guitar for your
particular application. The guitar must sound great without the
pick up and amplification, no amount of electrical effects can
save a poor sounding acoustic instrument.
I repeat, if you are considering buying an acoustic electric
guitar make certain that the guitar sounds great before you plug
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 2
What type of acoustic guitar do you need? Do you need a six
string, steel strung guitar? Would a nylon string acoustic guitar
be more suitable? If you are a solo artist maybe a 12 string
acoustic guitar would be best.
Which guitar is best? The answer will depend entirely on your
application. To help you get started here is a couple of general
(a) The bulk acoustic rhythm guitar that we hear on the radio is
played on a six string, steel strung guitar played with a pick.
(b) Nylon guitars are becoming more popular in pop music due to
their capability to produce harmonic content in a frequency range
that will not affect the lead vocal. In this situation the nylon
strung guitar is generally played with a pick, instead of being
played with the fingers as it would be played in classical music.
(c) The 12-string guitar works most effectively by itself or with
little accompaniment for it takes up a lot of the frequency and
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 3
What size acoustic guitar will you need? Do you need a Jumbo,
Dreadnought, 7/8 or folk size?
Keeping in mind we want to get the best acoustic sound from the
guitar. Essentially the top of a guitar is similar to the sound
board of a piano, you should avoid guitars with volume/tone
controls etc, mounted on the guitar top. Ideally, we want the
guitar top to vibrate freely, even the wrong type of bridge pins
can significantly effect the tone and projection of your guitar.
A guitar that has brass bridge pins will have far less volume
than a guitar with rosewood bridge pins. Make certain you have a
close look at all these details. It's just common sense, but a
lot of great instruments are over-looked and all they need is a
In this situation the added weight of the brass bridge pins would
restrict the vibrations of the guitar top, reducing the volume
and projection of the instrument. Simply by replacing the brass
bridge pins with wood bridge pins would give the guitar a
completely different and improved sound.
In theory a Jumbo size acoustic guitar should give us the best
acoustic sound. In some cases this in not practical because of
the sheer size of the instrument and the size of the person
playing the guitar.
The most popular size is the dreadnaught size acoustic guitar.
However, some players find the sound of the dreadnaught guitar
too "boxy" and prefer the 7/8 of folk size guitars.
Lead guitarists tend to favor smaller body guitars because they
tend to have a more balanced sound to them and are easier to cut
through the band when playing with other musicians.
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 4
Do you need a cut-a-way acoustic? This is an important question,
the majority of acoustic electric guitars available in most music
stores are cut-a-ways. Working on our "best acoustic guitar
sound" theory it makes sense that the standard acoustic (non cut-
a-way) guitar will have a fuller, richer sound as the guitar top
is left intact.
If you are playing acoustic rhythm and don't need to play lead
parts up on the 15th,17th frets you don't need a cut-a-way.
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 5
Public enemy number one of the acoustic guitar is feedback.
So you go out to the average music gig and hold your beautiful
acoustic guitar up to the average little dynamic microphone. All
is going well until, they turn on the amplification and ... there
it is feedback!
How do we overcome this howling, annoying sound? A simple way to
overcome the feedback issue is to:
(a) use a "feedback buster" this is little rubber plug that fits
in the sound hole of your acoustic guitar, essentially it reduces
the feedback problem be making the top of the guitar similar to
that of a solid body acoustic guitar, whilst it greatly reduces
the acoustic qualities of the guitar, the feedback buster can be
quickly removed without having to loosen the strings.
(b) try and move away from the amplifier/ speakers and definitely
don't face your acoustic guitar into the speakers.
We've now covered some of the basic tips for playing acoustic
electric guitar, take your time a get the best acoustic guitar
without the electronic's and the rest will be a piece of cake.
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