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Old 08-22-2014, 10:27 PM   #1
zoe413
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Should I downsize?

I'm turning 15 in a month and a half or so and I'm playing my dad's 1970s Ovation Matrix 1132-4. It's rather... large? Full sized. This is the guitar I've been playing since my last birthday and it works well. The only thing that shows age is a few surface scratches he made years ago.
My problem is I have rather small hands and it's a stretch to play barre chords as well as get my strumming hand is the right position without having my elbow 8-9 inches away from my body, which feels pretty awkward. I was thinking about switching to acoustic-electric for the purposes of recording (I do intend to go somewhere with this, not just play for fun. Whether it's gigs once in a while or something more, I do intend to go places.) and just having a smaller guitar that fits me better.
Again, it functions fine as-is, but it's a little awkward to play. And it's 40+ years old. I just need someone else's opinion on this. My parents are very "It's your guitar; your choice".
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:53 PM   #2
chrismendiola
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It's much more simple than you think it is- if you don't feel comfortable playing a guitar, then you should play one that does feel comfortable to you.
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Old 08-23-2014, 01:20 AM   #3
Captaincranky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoe413
I'm turning 15 in a month and a half or so and I'm playing my dad's 1970s Ovation Matrix 1132-4. It's rather... large? Full sized. This is the guitar I've been playing since my last birthday and it works well. The only thing that shows age is a few surface scratches he made years ago.
My problem is I have rather small hands and it's a stretch to play barre chords as well as get my strumming hand is the right position without having my elbow 8-9 inches away from my body, which feels pretty awkward. I was thinking about switching to acoustic-electric for the purposes of recording (I do intend to go somewhere with this, not just play for fun. Whether it's gigs once in a while or something more, I do intend to go places.) and just having a smaller guitar that fits me better.
Again, it functions fine as-is, but it's a little awkward to play. And it's 40+ years old. I just need someone else's opinion on this. My parents are very "It's your guitar; your choice".
God, that is a relic. I had a 12 string Ovation "Matrix". Odd piece, genuine rosewood finger board over top of a cast plastic neck.

The most often heard complaint about Ovations, (whether founded or urban legend), "they slide off your lap while you're playing them".

Awkward is a relative term. I find with standard wood bodies you can lay your arm across the top of the lower bout and strum, (as it's flat rather than curved as in the bowl shape). This attaches at lest while sitting and playing. As far as the "stretching to hit barre chords, that's really a function of scale length. There isn't much latitude, as normally standard scale lengths only go from 24.75" to 25.5".

Another measurement that could be critical is the length of your upper arm, as that establishes the pivot point of your strum.

There isn't a whole heck of a lot of difference until you go to 3/4 size instruments, which have scales somewhere between maybe 22" to 23". Even "parlor" guitars, usually have the 24.75 scale.

Of course, standard dreadnoughts and jumbo guitars have the longer scales, as they need the higher string tension long scales provide, to adequately energize the soundboards.

Now, you have all these measurements, reasons, justification, etc., you're telling your parents as to why you need another instrument. If it works for you, go for it. Personally, I think you're just blowing smoke. OTOH, that is a really ancient lower end "O".

"I need another guitar today, for a gig I might have some time in the future". Like I said, if it works on your parents, use it.

As far as, "acoustic electric", that classification certainly doesn't attach to any particular body size size. It just says the guitar is more of an acoustic design, (you know, flat top, deep-ish body, sound hole), whatever the actual body size may be. Guitars don't get all that much easier to play standing until you get to the semi-hollow ES-335 type electrics.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 08-23-2014 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:25 AM   #4
stepchildusmc
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I can guarantee that when your 25, you'll regret having gotten rid of that Matrix.
monetarily, it has very little value. keep it and save for another, more comfortable guitar.
it's possible that the Ovation just needs some work to make it more playable. I'd recommend bringing it to a local shop to have it looked at( and try a few new ones out at the same time !!).
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:53 AM   #5
rohash
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I have an Ibanez AEF30e thinline and I love this guitar. The body is full size but about an inch thinner than a typical dread. It is very comfortable to play and my fingers love the flat fretboard. I have fairly large hands though. I haven't touched my other guitars much since I got this. I just can't put it down. I was a little skeptical about the sound of the thinner body and the all maple construction(maple not being your typical acoustic tonewood) but this guitar sounds good. I don't think it gives up much to a full sized body. A comfortable guitar is gonna sound better because you'll be able to play better. Yamaha also makes thinline AE guitar. A thinline might be something to look into. Good luck and happy strumming.
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