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Old 11-19-2017, 11:41 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Default Is acoustic guitar really a difficult instrument to make music on?

This idea has been presented as self-evident in a number of threads, often in concert with the idea that acoustic guitar music will die off because it's a tough instrument to make music on.

My introduction to the acoustic guitar as a child was the "folk scare" of the late 1950s/early 60s. At that point in time I thought it was a common belief that the guitar was a (too) easy instrument to make music with. There was a stereotype: the player who learned a handful of open chords quickly and then went about playing annoying folk songs. Similar things were often said about rock'n'roll guitar, and later about electric punk guitar.

Now of course, we're all guitarists here. We know that's way over-simplified. And no one disagrees that one can spend a lifetime studying guitar and improving technique and still never achieve everything the instrument can do. But let's consider some middle ground. Is the acoustic guitar really one of the "hard" instruments to get to the point that one can make music on it, particularly if your goal (as with many) is to make music to sing along to?
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:04 PM
cmd612 cmd612 is offline
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Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
Is the acoustic guitar really one of the "hard" instruments to get to the point that one can make music on it, particularly if your goal (as with many) is to make music to sing along to?
If you're talking about just getting to the point of making something recognizable as music and that doesn't send people running screaming from the room with their hands over their ears, I'd say guitar is one of the easier instruments. A decent singer strumming a simple three chord song can be a beautiful thing.

Obviously, as you suggested, reaching a point of virtuosity is a different matter entirely.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:14 PM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Make music on NO
Master making music on probably
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:15 PM
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Other than autoharp, I think guitar is just about the easiest of all instruments on which to play rudimentary music. I once taught a 76-yr. old man who had never played any instrument to play several easy songs he liked, using 4 chords, in one afternoon. That was NOT due to my great skills as a teacher, but rather the ease of basic guitar.

Playing well is a whole different story, of course.

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Old 11-19-2017, 12:28 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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As you say, it is a relatively easy beginner's instrument with enormous potential for virtuoso playing. Is is also widely available, comes in lots of different kinds, relatively cheap, is easily portable, and has huge resources available for learning how to play it. So, no, it isn't a difficult instrument to get to a "sing along" level.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:34 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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If I go into a guitar store and listen to people trying instruments, all I hear are licks, but nothing recognizable as a "real" song. To qualify that, original music that has solid melody and form, would certainly be just as recognizable in that sense, and different from a lick. If I go into a piano store, I hear people playing recognizable music when trying out instruments. There are skills that seem to be more common among players of most instruments except guitar. These include a repertoire of music, the ability to read standard notation, at least some functional knowledge of theory, etc.

The guitar seems to be more of a DIY instrument than many other instruments and many skip the real basics to get to the "good stuff". There are those who take the guitar seriously and know all these things that players of other instruments do, but with the possible exception of the electronic keyboard, most other instruments seem to have a fairly rigorous path to achieving the ability to play it, and little of the DIY aspect.

All that said, what these observations mean to me is that the guitar is both very easy to play and very difficult. Playing both piano and guitar, I personally feel that it is easier to play solo instrumental music and keep t interesting on the piano than it is on guitar. So, to me, playing this style is much more difficult to do well on the guitar. That is my area of interest, so that is what I am commenting on. There are all manner of other approaches to the guitar that are largely divided into playing rhythm and playing lead, and all manner of styles to explore.

To me, every instrument has techniques that are "easy" to perform and others that are "difficult". They all have their challenges, and the guitar is no exception. Those who truly master their art on the guitar are just as devoted to their instrument, as anyone who plays any other instrument, and that involves a lifetime of single-minded focus.

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Old 11-19-2017, 12:48 PM
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the only difficult part is pressing flesh onto steel onto wood. once you get those callouses built, you are good. you don't need to do this to play piano, for example.

play music!
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:48 PM
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Default Is acoustic guitar really a difficult instrument to make music on?

The acoustic guitar is certainly more difficult than the electric to make music on...at least until one becomes relatively proficient. Kinda like manual vs. power steering in a car.

The acoustic’s popularity stems from its portability and facilitation of playing rhythm and adding voice. Imo, the hardest part about playing guitar, especially for newcomers, is the awkward fretting hand/wrist articulation a player must perpetually endure compared to other musical instruments. Yes, it never ends...we just get used to it. Proper, player-specific setup is also an important factor that affects difficulty. It can make certain chording very tough, which players work through, but doesn’t change the fact that the guitar is difficult to play, especially well, compared to other instruments.

It seems that since the invention of the acoustic guitar, players adopted a technique that defies comfort. The very few players like Jeff Healey had it right, not only from a comfort perspective, but the inherent use of all five digits, not just four plus the rare thumb wrap that 99.9% of us employ. Translating to piano, it’d be like laying under one while contorting the wrist to play the keys.

Why do guys do this to ourselves? To look cool and impress the ladies!
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:22 PM
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Is acoustic guitar really a difficult instrument to make music on?

No!
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:30 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
The acoustic guitar is certainly more difficult than the electric to make music on...at least until one becomes relatively proficient.
Hmm, dunno. I played acoustic for about 30 years before I took up electric, and I have never really got used to the latter. I only realised recently what the problem is - good string damping technique.
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:41 PM
Looburst Looburst is offline
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To make music on? No. To make an impression with? Yes.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:11 PM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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The thing that drove the popularity of the acoustic guitar (in the days before recorded music) was the fact that it is easy to play. Someone could buy one, and in a few short weeks learn enough to accompany themselves (and their guests). Parlor sing-a-longs were popular, and the "parlor guitar" was designed to fit comfortably on a lady's lap.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:26 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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An acoustic guitar is a fairly difficult musical instrument to play well to its potential. The guitar is a low tech instrument, taking two hands' fingers with placement accuracy of about 1/8" from optimal, often with even more precision. Compare a piano, which is a much higher tech instrument. One finger (or an eraser end of a pencil) can produce an accurate pitch with good tone. This is because the piano has a complicated mechanism inside of it to do much of the work.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:51 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Based on my own experience, I would have to say yes.

And don't we all know lots of folks with a guitar or 2 around the house who really can't play it much at all? No one buys an instrument thinking they just want to look at it

Bottom line, it takes a fair amount of dedication and practice to play passably well. To become proficient requires a real commitment.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:31 PM
AmericanEagle AmericanEagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
Based on my own experience, I would have to say yes.
Bottom line, it takes a fair amount of dedication and practice to play passably well. To become proficient requires a real commitment.
I agree. I know there are those out there that just "get it",
like the man on YouTube's "Shutup and Play", who has many guitar
lessons out there on acoustic, and nails every song with ease.
Many, like myself, struggle to learn every song.
I can strum the major and minor first position chords easily,
but for me to play something articulate and complex, forget it.
It would takes months of hard work for just one song, and I
just cannot commit.
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