Playing the Electric

Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,697Member
I was working up a song yesterday, something a friend had written and had put down the bass and drums for, and wanted me to do the guitars for. I was fine with the acoustic - layered a couple of finger picking tracks down, a bit of slide, and some arpeggios.

Then I picked up the electric.

No bloody idea at all. It really does feel like a different instrument altogether. Yes, I can still bash out some rock'n'roll riffs and solos, but anything else... the lack of practice is really showing. Maybe not so much in the fingers, but in the thinking. I just had no "electric" ideas for the song.

I really do think that when the current rock'n'roll line up has run its course (although I suspect there's half a dozen years in it yet) I might go 100% acoustic. At home I'm already 95% there.


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,658Member, Moderator
    I agree with your notion that electric and acoustic guitars are different beasts.

    A friend of mine recently got rid of his electric guitars as he says he feels that through an acoustic is how he best expresses himself.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,697Member
    I don't think I'll ever get rid of the Strat as I've had since new back in '79 and we're growing old together. But I can see a time when I just keep that and a small valve amp just in case an odd jam session arises. A few years away, but yep.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Very different animals aren't they!

    It took me several goes to try to migrate from electric to acoustic, and it took altered tuning and the right guitar for it to happen.

    Each time I now go back to try anything on an electric I feel that my skills and inspiration, such as they were, have diminished a bit more. I also find that the length of time I can play an electric before I start to want to hear acoustic sounds is reducing.

    I do still have 4 electrics, but with 1 semi-acoustic, and 1 each of solid body single coils, P90s, and Humbuckers, getting rid of one leaves a gap in the types of sound I can get.

    That's a very valid point your friend made Lester - expressing yourself is such a major part of enjoyment in playing. Without that feeling it's all just meaningless fluff. But the worry at the back of the mind is that if my preference can jump from electric to acoustic then it could also jump back - what then if I've no electrics left, and no spare funds.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,153Member
    I'm kind of in the opposite camp - have acoustic and classical guitars, but hardly play them, and certainly out of practice re those styles and techniques. Having said that, and although I love my electric guitars, and consider myself much more of an electric player, I could not contemplate not having the acoustics.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,658Member, Moderator
    I started learning on electric so that feels like home but like Megi, I couldn't imagine not having acoustics.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 779Member
    I'm a typical electric guitarist in that I play and acoustic guitar like it's an electric guitar. I think it's easier to make the transition in that direction and still have it sound OK, but , you're not making the most of the acoustic guitar. You're losing out on much of the subtlety and beauty of the acoustic sound.

    I even go to the lengths of having an unwound 3rd on on of my acoustics.
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 512Member
    edited February 2017
    My preference is acoustic which I think is confirmed by my collection of 6 acoustics (electro) and 1 electric which I use a wound 3rd on. I only purchased the electric (Shine) so Megi got his commission way back in the day.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 940Member
    Just Tel said:

    My preference is acoustic which |I| think is confirmed by my collection of 6 acoustics (electro) and 1 electric which I use a wound 3rd on. I only purchased the electric (Shine) so Megi got his commission way back in the day.

    Megi gets commission? That explains a lot of posts ;-) I've been looking at Shines and think they would be a good choice. As Mrs Nicholas says, "There's always something else!"

    I'm more of an electric player since I learned on one and didn't have an acoustic for years and years. I don't even think of them as the same instrument since they sound and feel so different. I do quite different things on each, much like a tele makes me do things differently to a semi acoustic, for example.

    The acoustic can be quite humbling though!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,144Member
    The difference between a speedboat and a rowing boat. I mean to learn electric but get bored easily. Acoustic is a solo instrument - electric guitar needs accompaniment and I can't be arsed getting the amp out and putting on the backing tracks.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 940Member
    Interesting! I play solo electric all the time and like the sound of it. I do play to tracks though, and have the amp setup permanently beside my computer so it's no work at all to switch it on, grab a guitar and click on a track.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,144Member
    edited February 2017
    Nick - I like to play in the lounge on the settee. Going to the computer means climbing stairs, being in another room, plugging in... and I'm afraid that's enough to put me off ! Yes. I understand electric can be played solo effectively, but for that I prefer the natural sound of wood.

    Interestingly (or not)...

    I notice my Martin OOO has a very different register to my Chibson J45. And I don't just mean that my Chibson isn't a real J45 (it's as near as darn it.) The Chibson is taking its tone far more from the wood - the Martin is taking it from the string. This isn't a body shape issue either. I know with the Martin 'D' shape they pick up on the string sound too.

    The Martin is a wetter sound, more towards electric, whereas the Chibson is dry and woody.

    Certain numbers sound better on one than the other. The Chibson is far better for acoustic rock, grunge, folk and general strumming. The Martin for blues and solo arrangements.

    If I were to choose to have only one it would be the Chibson as it does blues and solo arrangements pretty decently too.

    Not the answer you were expecting. I just felt the urge to witter on a bit. Soz, Nick.

    I've been listening to your recordings and they're very good. Any chance of getting wifey on her sax so we can hear it ?
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,144Member
    Worth mentioning here that the contrast between the two acoustics isn't a preference for either brand and is rather more to do with the style of guitar (whichever maker.) We're transitioning from acoustic towards electric - one can almost hear the ground being broken towards a taste for amplified string, which is what electric is. It would probably make more sense if we put a gut string guitar at the beginning of the exercise.

    (Just talking b*****ks. Nerdism is what you get when you join a forum like this, I'm afraid.)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 940Member
    Witter away, please, witter away! Oh and I love a bit of nerdism every once in a while - can't get enough!
    I definitely go for different guitars for different styles and only do certain things on an acoustic, so it makes sense to have several acoustics.

    I just like to play away from everyone else - and they
    like it that way too, particularly when I'm practising scales or a tricky part over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,144Member
    ... over ?
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 940Member
    edited February 2017
    ... and over and...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,658Member, Moderator
    ... out.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 940Member
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