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  #16  
Old 05-16-2018, 01:13 PM
samthinguy samthinguy is offline
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Great discussion. I've been going through this a bit myself recently and I guess what I am realizing is it depends on your style of playing each and what level you are. I think the acoustic does wonders for beginners. It allows them to focus on technique, developing strength and music without getting distracted with knobs, tones and gear chasing. Musically both can really benefit each other as you develop musical knowledge.

The problem comes for me in the way each is played. There is not as much crossover as you might think. In a way playing smooth bends with vibrato at the top of the bend is a world apart from flatpicking a bluegrass song. I find that when I'm more focused on my acoustic playing and I go back to electric, my bends are a mess and I have trouble adapting my right hand to the much lighter strings.

I'm currently considering getting a tele and setting it up with 12s and seeing if I find that to be more appealing, but its hard. I'm not gonna get those gilmour bends on a guitar like that!
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  #17  
Old 05-16-2018, 01:32 PM
Chickee Chickee is offline
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After a lifetime of playing solid body electrics, this last year of enjoying what I like to think of as moderately priced, well made acoustics, has benefitted my electric playing skills in ways I would not have ever thought of.
My hands have not been in this good of shape for longer than I can remember. The ability to hit a clean, spot on note or chord with precision and clarity is a direct side effect of muscle development from playing acoustics I feel. I'm not choking the fretboard with a death grip as to squeeze out a tone from a string. I am finessing the electrics now, playing them more delicately than before. My single note playing is so much more accurate due to studying bluegrass lead lines and riffs it has translated to electric single note lines that are full of life and color it surprises me sometimes. I trade off now from one to the other for the sheer enjoyment of being able to appreciate the differences. Like my signature line says-
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2018, 02:14 PM
Stratcat77 Stratcat77 is offline
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Great topic!

I find it interesting that some others here seem to have the same background as I do. I played primarily electric for 35 years, then switched to 100% acoustic about 5-6 years ago. I have to wonder if this is a pretty common trend with those of us who grew up playing rock-n-roll and are now in our 50-60s and no longer want the rock-band gig and all that goes with that (late nights and heavy equipment)? I was playing in bands with a truckload of gear including big sound systems and late night gigs that sometimes meant driving home at 3am. Now most of my gigs are over by 10pm and I can get my entire setup in my car.

I think playing acoustic has made me a better player because you have to play it differently. You certainly can't go from being an acoustic strummer to an electric player without changing your technique! Strumming an electric sounds horrible... That said, I probably sound like an electric player playing an acoustic on a lot of things. But the result is different. And on acoustic you can't hide behind effects and rock band volume which masks so much. With the electric and the sustain and thick amp/distortion tones, I relied much more on bends, quick hammer-ons and pull-offs, slides, etc to spice up my playing. On the acoustic, you just don't have as much freedom to do that easily. So it's forced me to actually get to know the fretboard better and think about how to spice up my playing in different ways with different double-stops and chord voicings. Instead of bending and sustaining with big vibrato, I have to play chosen notes more carefully.

I think it's made me a better overall player. I do not know if it's made me a better electric player because I really don't play electric anymore. My assumption is that if I did, I would be better in some ways, but I don't know.
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  #19  
Old 05-16-2018, 03:52 PM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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For me, they are totally different animals. I have been playing acoustic far longer than electric. As a acoustic "cowboy chord" mostly kinda guy, I did not find that acoustic skills translated well on electric.

I have found that more of the playing skills gained on the electric have helped me on the acoustic. Playing 3 hours in fist position on an acoustic is totally different than playing mostly barre and power chords over and over. Two different types of strength IME. Playing electric has made me far more precise with both my L and R hand. Play an extra string (one not in the chord) on an acoustic and the sonic difference is minimal. Do it on an electric and it's a clear cut sonic mistake.

Playing electric has opened up more of the fret board for me. After focusing on the electric quite heavily for close to a year now, my acoustic and electric skills are nearly at the same level.
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  #20  
Old 05-16-2018, 05:37 PM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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Definitely not one of the cool kids, but the answer is yes, playing acoustic has helped my electric playing. I now play mostly with my fingers, and aside from feeling a little cramped on most electrics - the spacing at the bridge is *tiny* - playing with fingers makes some music more readily possible.
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  #21  
Old 05-16-2018, 07:24 PM
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Ed-in-Ohio Ed-in-Ohio is offline
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Great thread.

I've recently gotten back into playing the electric after a couple years away due to a bout with tinnitus (which I [knock on wood] seem to have gotten under control).

Although I'd say electric and acoustic guitar are definitely different animals, I found that my "electric feel" and technique came back pretty quickly.

It's interesting, for my first ten years as a player, I was almost exclusively an electric player, and as one would expect, that early predisposition has stuck with me. I always feel immediately comfortable with an electric in my hands, regardless of how long I have been away from it.

A couple of observations about getting back to playing an electric after a few years "acoustic only":
  • Barre chording has always been a strength of mine (and I'm sure those early years on electric are to thank for that), and now getting back to playing a well set-up electric with 9-42 strings after a few years of just playing acoustic guitars with 12-54 strings, I am a barre chording machine!
  • Right hand tremolo is also a strength of mine, and though I get to use that on mandolins, I was rarely able to find a decent application for it on an acoustic guitar. On an electric, however, it fits right in.
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  #22  
Old 05-16-2018, 10:33 PM
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I play far more acoustic these days than when I was a shred metal electric player in the 80's, and I think it does help my electric playing. I'm a lot more precise than I used to be. I use my pinkie far more than I used to, probably partly because I spend a lot more time playing seated (I used to always, always play standing). I'm more creative, and I spend a lot more time playing solo (vs. with a band, or along with records). I've gotten pretty good with several alternate tunings on acoustic, and I use some of them on electric too (I used to always, always play in standard). And I use my fingers a lot more than I used to, playing hybrid on electric too and not just on acoustic.

Downsides? I'm not sure there are any, but I do play slower these days, and I'm much less fluid with single-note runs. I don't think I can blame acoustic for that, and I'm sure I could still shred if I practiced shredding, but I'm not that interested in playing that style anymore. I'd rather spend that time learning more harp guitar.
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  #23  
Old 05-16-2018, 11:03 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I started as a jazzer so I tended to favor a classic early-50's bop setup (flatwound 12's or 13's, ultra-low action) on all my electrics until very recently, going to 11's on some of my (solid-body) guitars merely as a concession to age (the thinlines and jazzboxes still use the heavier gauges); not only don't I overplay as a result, but the consistent feel between my acoustics (still strung with 12's and 13's) and electrics allows me to transition smoothly within a set - and, other than an overdriven solo, there's almost nothing that I do on electric that I can't do satisfactorily on acoustic. There's also the benefit of a stronger signal and punchier attack on my electrics (I use a lot of picking dynamics and prefer to really lay into it with my right hand, as I would on acoustic, rather than ride the volume control), and I never felt the need to swap pickups on either my (since-sold) Tele or Strat in the name of "bigger" tone - old Leo knew what he was doing, and when set up to early-50's spec your Fender will never sound thin, metallic, or edgy...
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  #24  
Old 05-17-2018, 07:07 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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The majority of my six string daily practice is on my Merrill, Brondel, Northwood, Santa Cruz, Gibson F9 mandolin, or Iseman Weissenborn. I use light to medium gauge strings and mix it up between fingerstyle and flat picking or slide.

I play electric with two bands on Strat, SG, PRS, and lap steel using .10 light gauge.

I find the acoustic practice makes my electric playing more precise and facile.
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  #25  
Old 05-17-2018, 08:30 AM
Minstermarce Minstermarce is offline
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I started on acoustic and then went to electric. The benefits have been identified in previous posts on this thread, but, I have to say, it took time to master control (all relative!) of the sound on an electric with the amp cranked up and on a dirty setting.
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  #26  
Old 05-17-2018, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minstermarce View Post
...snip...I have to say, it took time to master control (all relative!) of the sound on an electric with the amp cranked up and on a dirty setting.
Yes, effective use of the controls and pickup switches on an electric to shape one's tone can be a science onto itself. Still working on that.
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  #27  
Old 05-17-2018, 11:05 AM
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I like to say that it's just another tool in the shed. The goal is to make music so you need tools to do that. Set up might have a lot to do with it itt. Instinctively I have always liked high action on my electric guitar and very low on the acoustic. That might help balance out the feels a bit.

The other tools in my shed include classical and flamenco guitars, bass, acoustic bass, tenor guitar, banjo, mandolin, and probably forgot something. They all make you a better player IMHO.
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  #28  
Old 05-17-2018, 12:27 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minstermarce View Post
I started on acoustic and then went to electric. The benefits have been identified in previous posts on this thread, but, I have to say, it took time to master control (all relative!) of the sound on an electric with the amp cranked up and on a dirty setting.
One of the valuable lessons I learned from starting on electric and playing rock in bands was that you have to master DAMPING the strings or else it is a mess. It's valuable (not as critical) to apply that to acoustic. I am amazed at how many people I hear at open mikes and even paid performances who are sloppy at damping unwanted string sounds. To me it is one of the clear lines between amateur and pro.
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  #29  
Old 05-17-2018, 12:48 PM
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I play mostly fingerstyle on my acoustic, and the dexterity has come in handy multiple times when I've dropped my pick while playing electric guitar...
I haven't figured out how to get a pick squeal without a pick though!
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  #30  
Old 05-18-2018, 12:02 AM
Minstermarce Minstermarce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-in-Ohio View Post
Yes, effective use of the controls and pickup switches on an electric to shape one's tone can be a science onto itself. Still working on that.
Couldn't agree more - it's a whole universe.
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