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Acoustic Newb

A network of beginning acoustic guitar students for sharing discussion, encouragement, ideas, resources, and support as we begin the journey.

Members: 455
Latest Activity: on Wednesday

Discussion Forum

I must be making progress 11 Replies

Started by Harris Coe. Last reply by Terry Angelli on Tuesday.

Tutorial Critique 10 Replies

Started by Steven Donovan. Last reply by Steven Donovan Apr 10.

Guitars on Goodwill that I think may be good for a beginner/intermediate player... 12 Replies

Started by FloridaGull. Last reply by FloridaGull Mar 24.

Best guitar for adult beginners 16 Replies

Started by Charles. Last reply by Paul Haldane Jan 15.

Hello from Australia 5 Replies

Started by Les Jackson. Last reply by Terry Angelli Jan 4.

Comment Wall

Comment

You need to be a member of Acoustic Newb to add comments!

Comment by Walt Pilcher on February 5, 2014 at 11:59am

Steven Donovan, welcome to the Newb group.  I see you've already been having some dialogue in the Seagull group, and I hope the Newb group will also prove helpful to you. 

Comment by Edward Sparks on January 30, 2014 at 10:00am
You're welcome rosemary! I thought so too!
Comment by Rosemary j. Lambin on January 29, 2014 at 10:05pm

Hey, Ed, thanks for posting the article about strings. Lots of useful information.

Comment by Mark on January 28, 2014 at 6:59pm

Wow Denny !    That was fantastic!   :-)

Comment by Denny Baer on January 28, 2014 at 5:03pm

A twist on Elton John's Rocket Man:

http://www.wimp.com/bluegrassrocket/

Comment by Walt Pilcher on January 18, 2014 at 12:21pm

Paul Haldane, Welcome to the Newb group.  I see you've been perusing the discussions and participating already, which is great.  We haven't had much activity in this group for a while, and I hope it will pick up.

Comment by Walt Pilcher on January 4, 2014 at 9:40am

Welcome, Les Jackson. Thanks for starting a discussion, the first new one we've had here in a couple of months!

Comment by Walt Pilcher on January 3, 2014 at 8:50am

Jason, welcome to the Newb group.  Not much activity here lately, but you'll find some good stuff in the past Discussions (and feel free to start your own), and great posts on the Comment Wall like the helpful tips from Edward Sparks, below.  Happy New Year!

Comment by Edward Sparks on December 19, 2013 at 11:53am

Strings article p-art three:

Unplugged:

• Fade to Bleak: Since there are no pickups, juice or amps involved in acoustic guitar playing in its purest form, string composition – which affects how a string responds to being struck and the retention of tonal qualities – is particularly important for acoustic guitars. Bronze, phosphor bronze and coated strings tends to be the preferred varieties, ascending in price. Bronze strings start out the brightest, but lose their high voices relatively quickly. Phosphor bronze offers a darker tone, but still with a clear, ringing top and the phosphor allows the strings to produce their optimum sound longer. On acoustic guitars, coated strings trade a longer life for less brightness, but good warmth and presence.

• Lighten Up: Typically, heavier strings project more natural sound when struck, but for most live performers it’s practical to have an acoustic guitar with a pick-up for plug-and-play situations. Having a pickup in an acoustic guitar allows for the use of lighter gauge strings. Some acoustic guitars even respond well to slinky electric sets, like .10s, providing electric-guitar-like playability without sacrificing the chime of acoustic tones.

• Them Changes: Since the strings on acoustic guitars play a much more important role in projecting volume and clarity than strings on an amplified electric guitar, considering changing acoustic guitar strings often to keep an instrument sounding its best. Remember to wipe down the strings after playing and check for string damaging fret wear. Both can prematurely end a guitar string’s life.

• Do the Right String: Some instructional guides advise beginning players to try ball-end nylon strings because they are easier on the fingers and are more bendable than metal, but steel string guitars are called “steel string guitars” because that’s what they require. Nylon strings lack the tension needed to keep steel strings guitars at their peak, which means warping, bridge damage and other issues can occur. Likewise, steel strings on a nylon string classical guitar will warp its neck with frightening speed.

• Keep it Clean: This axiom applies to electric guitarists as well. It’s a good rule to wash one’s hands thoroughly before playing. Dirt can become caught in wound metal strings, dulling their sound and promoting corrosion, but nothing corrodes quite like human sweat. Besides, having clean, fresh fingers is never a bad thing, right?

Comment by Edward Sparks on December 19, 2013 at 11:53am

Strings article part two:

Plugged:

• Fast Fingers: If speed’s the goal, most shred-heads prefer light gauge strings. They’re easy to bend and promote fast playing by offering less resistance to the fretting and picking hands. Since guitar strings are measured in thousandths of an inch, the typical recommended gauge for players planning to burn in standard tuning are .009s, available in every guitar shop.

• Sound Judgment: Consider the sonic characteristics of the various materials used in making electric strings. Stainless steel strings are the least glamorous, but offer plenty of bright bite and sustain. Pure nickel has a warm old-school sound, for vintage tones. And nickel-plated steel is a bit brighter than classic nickel and responds more adroitly to picking attack. Chrome guitar strings are typically the province of jazz players or blues artists who are looking for the kind of warm retro tones chiseled into history by the likes of Charlie Christian or swinging Gibson ES-250, ES-5 and ES-335 bluesman Aaron “T-Bone” Walker. And then there are coated strings – the most expensive and theoretically the longest lasting. They are, however, not really the best, sonically speaking. Coated strings tend to have less sustain. Also, their Teflon exterior surfaces are slippery, which might take some getting used to for particularly aggressive electric guitar players. And when the coatings wear off, they rust like any other string.



• Wound Up: String windings directly affect tone and playability. Round wound strings have more “zing” – sustain, responsiveness and bite. Flat wound strings have a smoother and more consistent tone regardless of attack, which makes them a favorite of jazz players, like the great Gibson ES-350 legend Barney Kessel. Blues guitar kingpin Jimmie Vaughan also uses flat wounds for his vintage tone. And they offer less resistance than round wound strings, so they can be beneficial for rapid, even toned performance and squeak less.



• Heavy is as Heavy Does: For low hanging alternate tunings like open D or dropped D, consider a heavy string gauge – at least .11s, although Stevie Ray Vaughan, who kept his instrument turned down just a half-step, employed a set gauged .13 to .58. Thicker strings will maintain their tension better when they’re low-tuned, which makes for less fret noise and other undesirable distortion. Many players feel thicker strings make for better slide playing, too, since the strings resist going slack under the pressure of the slide. But that’s really a matter of feel and learning to control a slide more than a string thing.

• Gotta Feel It: Ultimately, what feels right under your fingers and sounds right coming out of your rig should determine your strings. It’s important to try different brands before zeroing in on a favorite. Judge a new set of strings by its brightness, sustain, tone and how easily they permit bending, fretting and picking. When a brand and gauge feel like buttah and sing like Circe, that’s the zone.

 

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