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Old 01-09-2013, 08:43 AM
ridethatbike ridethatbike is offline
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Default Huss & Dalton CM tough to play

Let me start off by saying no, I'm not mental. The CM sounds gorgeous. But I cannot get used to the higher string tension it seems to have somehow. I play electrics about 65% of the time, and have been playing a bit over a year. So I'm not a complete newb, but I'm not Kottke either.

The CM just seems to me to have high string tension. I've had the action and setup checked by my luthier, and he said it could come down a smidge, but it's pretty close to as low as one would want it. I play 50/50 blues and Dave Matthews stuff (quite a mix, I know), and it's tough to bend notes on this guitar. And it wears me out. You have to be "on it" to have it sound good, and when it sounds good, it sounds awesome. But otherwise I get a lot of buzzing.

The most important point I want to make is that I've played probably a dozen other acoustics, some with even terrible setups, and they all play easier to me. Taylors, Martins, Breedloves, Eastmans, cheapies, etc. My friend has a laminate Martin that is about to fall apart with mile high action, and it seems easier to play. It doesn't sound as nice, but it makes me wonder what's going on with the H&D.

So what could the issue be? I'd rather not sell the CM, but I will if I have to. I have a feeling it'll cost me some dough to part ways with it.

Also forgot to mention I've put on extra light strings too and the guitar sound was penalized quite a bit, and it didn't make enough play-ability difference to justify the loss in sound quality.
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Last edited by ridethatbike; 01-09-2013 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:00 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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It's your hands just not meshing with that neck profile, frets, etc.

It's not the guitar.

It's not you.

It's just not happening.

HE
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridethatbike View Post
...So what could the issue be?
Hi rtb...

Possible Issues?
  • String weight
  • The strings themselves
  • The tech
  • Defective neck

What weight and type of strings are you using, and how low do you want it?

It's amazing to me how low my luthier (he does build guitars from scratch so he's more than a tech) can bring action down without buzz compared to other techs. All techs are not created equal.


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Old 01-09-2013, 09:16 AM
ridethatbike ridethatbike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
It's your hands just not meshing with that neck profile, frets, etc.

It's not the guitar.

It's not you.

It's just not happening.

HE
Howard,

That would make sense to me. I just figured that since I'm a newer player I might be more pliable to different radius/neck profiles/setups than someone who might be a bit more set in their ways. I think I might try some of the suggestions I receive before I try a different guitar, mainly due to the cost aspect.

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Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi rtb...

Possible Issues?
  • String weight
  • The strings themselves
  • The tech
  • Defective neck

What weight and type of strings are you using, and how low do you want it?

It's amazing to me how low my luthier (he does build guitars from scratch so he's more than a tech) can bring action down without buzz compared to other techs. All techs are not created equal.


LJ,

It could possibly be the tech, but he's been at it for a long time and is certified nine ways from Sunday. I may take it into Mass Street Music for a second opinion, as I'm always looking for a reason to go to Lawrence.

As far as string height, I don't know if that's necessarily the problem. The problem to me is that you have to be SO accurate in your fretting otherwise it buzzes. I know electrics have more forgiveness typically, so that's why I was keen to try different acoustics out too.

A part of me thinks that if I hang on the H&D, I'll be a great acoustic player since the margin of error is so small, but on the other hand, I may hate the journey...

If I remember right, I'm using Martin light gauge phosphor bronze, non-coated strings.

Thanks for your time,

Chris
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:18 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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...a Huss &Dalton CM is one of dozens of fine acoustic guitars i've owned...it has a very comfy neck profile and i would consider it a very comfortable guitar to play....it has a longer scale length so your only option to make it (or pretty much any acoustic guitar) an easier transition from electric playing is to go to either lighter strings or a shorter scale length....there is a third option and that it to stick with it until it becomes comfortable which i feel sure would happen in time based on how much you play it...
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridethatbike View Post
...It could possibly be the tech, but he's been at it for a long time and is certified nine ways from Sunday. I may take it into Mass Street Music for a second opinion, as I'm always looking for a reason to go to Lawrence.
Hi Chris...
You are looking for ideas, and I'm just brainstorming.

I love Mass Street music (my brother lives in Lawrence) and who needs any excuse to visit there?

If other guitars do play easier for you, then you know the possibility exists to experience lower action. If it can be done on that guitar remains to be seen.

I've played Huss & Daltons, and they didn't have any extreme neck profiles differences compared to other guitars I've played. Is the CM a baseball bat thick neck profile?

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Old 01-09-2013, 09:35 AM
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I've been playing around a year also and I have a CM and a Martin 000-15SM. The Martin is a lot more forgiving of left hand positioning, but I'm concentrating on the CM because I know I will be a better player in the long run with more precise fingering. I don't think, however, the CM is hard to play; it is just more exacting and I'm guessing the "better" guitars for the most part are much the same way. The sound is definitely worth the effort.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:37 AM
ridethatbike ridethatbike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi Chris...
You are looking for ideas, and I'm just brainstorming.

I love Mass Street music (my brother lives in Lawrence) and who needs any excuse to visit there?

If other guitars do play easier for you, then you know the possibility exists to experience lower action. If it can be done on that guitar remains to be seen.

I've played Huss & Daltons, and they didn't have any extreme neck profiles differences compared to other guitars I've played. Is the CM a baseball bat thick neck profile?

I'm not trying to shoot down ideas, I'm just trying to paint the whole picture to get the best diagnosis.

J Patrick may be right and I just need to "cowboy up". I guess I want to make sure that if that's the case, then I just need to do so and an equipment change isn't going to fix what ails me.

As for the neck profile, it feels a touch meatier than the typical Taylor neck, but I wouldn't call it a baseball bat. My friend's old Tele, now that had a baseball neck. Dang.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridethatbike View Post
I'm not trying to shoot down ideas, I'm just trying to paint the whole picture to get the best diagnosis.

J Patrick may be right and I just need to "cowboy up". I guess I want to make sure that if that's the case, then I just need to do so and an equipment change isn't going to fix what ails me.

As for the neck profile, it feels a touch meatier than the typical Taylor neck, but I wouldn't call it a baseball bat. My friend's old Tele, now that had a baseball neck. Dang.
Hi rtb...

I teach fingerstyle guitar, and one thing I do is play every student's guitar at every lesson to see what the student is facing, and to see if they need to cowboy up or whether the guitar needs adjustments. It should be about playing music not working (or wrestling with) an instrument.

Guitar playing on decent guitars should not be about physical strength, but dexterity. A well setup guitar can be played very easily.

Hope you find your answers.


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Old 01-09-2013, 09:53 AM
rolleiguy54 rolleiguy54 is offline
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You could tune down a half step playa few months then
Try tuning back up.
Good luck
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:04 AM
George Bailey George Bailey is offline
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Could be a problem with the action at the nut? Sometimes that isn't noticeable until you play it for a few minutes. Maybe ask your tech to look at that? Would be noticeably hard to push down the strings and may give you a buzz. Throwin it out there
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:13 AM
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The H&Ds I have tried out have a chunckier neck than I like. Does it have a V profile? I do not like V profile or modified V profile necks. Personally I would not bother fighting with an uncomfortable guitar, whatever the reason, but would get a different guitar instead.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:34 AM
Jockobadger Jockobadger is offline
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I have a 2003 DS Custom - recently acquired - that is one of the easiest-playing acoustics I've ever had my hands on. Like you, I was mainly an electric player (almost exclusively for the last 20+ years) and this guitar has been a revelation for me. The neck has a modified V shape, 1 3/4 at nut, and I love it. I use D-Addarrio EJ 16's and J Pearse L600's on it. I wish I had the tech background to know what might be going on with yours. Alas, I don't. Keep looking for a solution because the sound/tone is SOOO worth it. I didn't know what I was missing all these years. JB
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:35 AM
ridethatbike ridethatbike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
The H&Ds I have tried out have a chunckier neck than I like. Does it have a V profile? I do not like V profile or modified V profile necks. Personally I would not bother fighting with an uncomfortable guitar, whatever the reason, but would get a different guitar instead.
It isn't a v-profile. Oddly, my favorite neck ever was on a road worn strat, which had a soft v neck.

I think I'll head up to Mass Street next week and play some of their inventory. They have some Collings and other high end stuff so I can see if it's just that I can't play high-end guitars or just my H&D and I don't mix.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:08 PM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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i've owned HD and live near a shop that stocks them at times.

i would definitely take the guitar to another tech to have another opinion.
as others have mentioned, first fret action(nut slot depth) has a lot to do with how stiff a guitar feels when playing, plus i have noticed the HD i've been around tend to come with a lot of relief dialed in. the neck set definitely needs to be checked as well.

you should be able to put some martin light/med gauge on that and have it play like butter-assuming the neck set and some other items are correct.

hopefully you'll find a good setup that will work, and if not don't fret it(pun intended), sell or trade it and get what suits you best.

good luck
d
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