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Archive for July, 2010

Learning Electric Guitar

July 23, 2010 2 comments

Learning electric guitar to play rock  guitar is different to learning acoustic guitar.  For a start the sound is different.  Electric guitar has usually a rock guitar sound, the acoustic guitar has a clean quiet sound.

With the difference in sound it means that the technique you use is different when playing.  When an electric guitar is amplified all sorts of stray unwanted sounds can come out of the amp.  You need to learn to set the amp up to have the correct sound so that unwanted feedback or stray noise is not fed through.  Although you will want distortion and some feedback at times.  The other thing is your fingers on the frets and the pick attack will make unwanted sounds through the amp.  You need to learn to damp the strings with your left hand when not actually playing notes and how to pick the strings to minimise this noise.

Play Rock Guitar at Night

Play Rock Guitar at Night

You can also use a noise gate to reduce noise.  The noise gate cuts out sounds below a certain level or threshold.  Need to be careful not to cut out or else you may lose the wanted sounds (or music).

Guitar effects are more widely used on the electric.  They give it a greater and more extreme range of sounds.  From the quiet clean sound to the rip-roaring distorted feedback laden rhythm and lead guitar rock sound.  Acoustic guitars are generally just amplified and any effects are used to give a mild change to the sound or keep it the amplified sound clean.

The other thing is the strings are easier to play on the electric than on the acoustic.  The strings are usually 8’s or 9’s compared to 10’s to 12’s on the acoustic guitar.  So with the lighter gauge it takes less finger pressure to hold them down than on the acoustic.  (Unless you are using a really heavy gauge like 12’s on the electric guitar).  They are also easier to bend which is good as you usually do more note bends on the electric than on the acoustic.

It is not uncommon to use 6 string chords on the acoustic guitar.  With the amplified electric you would 2 to 4 string chords.  This gives a full enough sound.  6 string chord on a heavily distorted guitar can sound a bit blared or jarred or just too noisy.

The acoustic has its place and you should own, learn and play both types of guitar to play rock guitar. The acoustic is important and is used for adding a quiet flavour and texture to songs or in ballads.  But learning electric guitar is more interesting with the variety of sounds you can get with effect pedals (and seems more dangerous sounding) than learning acoustic guitar.

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