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  #16  
Old 02-09-2019, 06:28 PM
lar lar is offline
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Put your capo on the first fret and see if it's easier to play. The capo takes the nut out of the equation. If it's easier, the nut is likely too high.

But whatever the result, go have a proper setup. Don't go to anyone, ask friends (this forum), etc, who they recommend in your area. A good setup makes a big difference. ~$80.

If, after the setup, you still don't like how it plays, it may be that your geometry (hand/finger size) doesn't agree with the guitars geometry (neck profile, nut width, fretboard radius,...). But since you already own another nearly identical guitar, it's probably the setup.

Are the neck profiles on your two 414s identical?
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  #17  
Old 02-09-2019, 06:30 PM
gmel555 gmel555 is offline
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As others have said your guitar might need some adjustment. You said it's a recent acquisition. Did you put new strings on or are the ones it came with? (If the latter, maybe they're the wrong gauge or material for you and/or your guitar.) It's also possible that this particular Taylor is just not a good fit for you. Neck width, profile, fretboard radius, action etc. are an individual thing. (For example, I even find certain neck finishes fatigue my hand more than others.) Hope it's an easy fix!
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  #18  
Old 02-09-2019, 06:39 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Some people do better with a thicker neck. I like the old Taylor neck shape and do well with it, but we are not all the same. I have a 2002 514CE and also a 2010 12-Fret.

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  #19  
Old 02-09-2019, 06:51 PM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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I had a 414ce, and always had problems with that neck. My hands (which aren’t big) much prefer fatter necks - my Gibson is much more comfortable for me, including barring at the first fret (and everywhere else).
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  #20  
Old 02-10-2019, 05:23 AM
C_Becker C_Becker is offline
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Check the nut height, most manufacturers err on the side of caution here.
Press a string down at the third fret, distance from the string to the first fret should now be absolutely minimal. If not, your nut is too high, which causes not only the notes in the first fret(s) to be sharp, but it also makes barre chords harder than necessary in the lower frets.
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  #21  
Old 02-10-2019, 05:54 AM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
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Although I play a lot of fingerstyle, I have great difficulty playing barre chords cleanly. It seems to me that the Taylor neck is, for me, too "thin". It seems like the profile prohibits me from getting enough pressure with my thumb/forefinger to form the bar.

Anyone else experience this issue?

Thanks - David[/QUOTE]

I no longer own any Taylor guitars, but I absolutely sympathise with your problem.
I find a chunky neck much easier to play on generally, but especially with barre chords, if I play on a slim neck for any length of time I get hand cramps.
I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the general guitar playing community realises that thin necks are literally a pain.
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  #22  
Old 02-10-2019, 06:44 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I own a '96 curly maple 420, a '99 Sitka/ovangkol 415, and an '07 Custom Solid (bought from Stan Jay and one of the first ones made), all of which have the pre-NT "playability-of-a-fine-electric" neck profile...

I can see my left hand smiling every time I play them...
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  #23  
Old 02-10-2019, 01:04 PM
gdbird gdbird is offline
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I took my other 414 to a guitar store. Their tech lowered the action by decreasing the height of the nut. (I thought action adjustments started with the saddle) It helped significantly.
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  #24  
Old 02-10-2019, 01:14 PM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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On of the things I find helps with that and have done to all my Fender electrics is have the fingerboard edges rounded. Just that alone will create more ease of barre chords because even that little amount helps with the natural curvature of some hands. It might cost $100 or more to have it done by a professional ( I do it myself on my Fenders) but it's crazy how much something like that helps. It will feel like a different radius while not changing the actual radius at all.
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  #25  
Old 02-10-2019, 03:31 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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No problems with my Taylor 324 any more than my other three acoustics--just inherent DukeX problems.
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  #26  
Old 02-11-2019, 05:58 PM
gdbird gdbird is offline
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I spoke with a friend of mine who is a professional guitarist....he's been playing since he was 8 and spent 4 years studying at a highly regarded music school. I explained my issue and his first question was how frequently was I doing hand exercises. WHAT!? He told me that just playing was not enough. Strength exercises for the thumb and forefinger allow you to use the proper form when playing and allow you to form barre chords effectively. He also recommended a professional setup on my guitar. So...apparently I need to pump some iron with my fingers!
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  #27  
Old 02-11-2019, 06:04 PM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdbird View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I have another 414 that bars nicely. It seems like the frets are almost too low to properly "break" the strings. Perhaps the action is too low? Sounds like a trip to a pro is in order.
I have always found that barre chord difficulty is driven in large part by fret height. Very low frets make clean barre chords difficult because your fingers bottom out on the fretboard. I don't generally find one neck geometry harder or easier. High action plays a role, as you know, but fret height can make any guitar with any geometry a challenge.
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  #28  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:01 PM
guitargeak99 guitargeak99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjroberts View Post
Despite all the hoopla about off the shelf playability (which I mostly agree with), Taylor nut slots in my esperience come from the factory high. Not surprising because the buyer should be able to personalize that set up without buying a new nut. But I am amazed Taylor doesn’t optimize this better at the factory. Once the nut is right, my Taylor typically plays better than all my other guitars, and I’m talking post set up.
I couldn’t agree more, but I believe this applies to any guitar brand.
I took my Taylor 12 Fret to my luthier (Arnie Gamble in Sac) and when he got done with it I could barre a 1st fret “F’ chord. This is coming from an intermediate player at best, who has always struggled with barre chords. The main adjustment was done on the nut slots. Granted the Taylor is a short scale, but he did the same thing with my Larrivee.
Like the posters before have already said, pony up the bucks and have a a set up done.
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  #29  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:27 PM
JohnW63 JohnW63 is offline
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Quote:
I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the general guitar playing community realises that thin necks are literally a pain.
For some, but certainly not all. That's why there are so MANY neck profiles !

Try playing some electrics from the 60s and 70s.
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  #30  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:54 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdbird View Post
I spoke with a friend of mine who is a professional guitarist....he's been playing since he was 8 and spent 4 years studying at a highly regarded music school. I explained my issue and his first question was how frequently was I doing hand exercises. WHAT!? He told me that just playing was not enough. Strength exercises for the thumb and forefinger allow you to use the proper form when playing and allow you to form barre chords effectively. He also recommended a professional setup on my guitar. So...apparently I need to pump some iron with my fingers!
I have also found that I improved my barre chord technique with employing more of my arm and shoulder strength. Fingers do not have muscles in them per se - more tendons. So, you can get a cleaner, stronger barre by relaxing the pressure on the thumb and forefinger a bit and slightly pulling with your larger muscles. It takes practice but it does really make a difference.

Best,
Jayne
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