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Old 05-25-2013, 12:01 AM   #1
shoe11
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Does playing acoustic guitar increase finger speed?

I started out playing electric. I've been playing for a few months and have gotten where I can play a lot of rhythm and a few solos (no shredders). A few days I purchased an acoustic online and haven't gotten the action lowered yet, but I still have been playing on it. It's been really rough on my fingers. But tonight I decided to plug in again and just started playing some scales and I noticed that I'm able to just fly through the notes and bend with ease. Does playing the acoustic strengthen my fingers to be able do that, or is it just me growing as a guitarist?
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:56 AM   #2
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I think it definetely strengthens your fingers a lot. Finger speed is something different though. Better strength helps developing speed though.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:01 AM   #3
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You growing as a guitarist is definitly to be taken into account. From experience I can definitly say there's benefit to playing acostic though, maybe not in terms of finger strength or anything else, but in terms of getting a raw appreciation for the intrument that's hard to find when it's plugged in. Acoustics are by their nature more responsive and so give you a better feel for picking dynamics and precision on the fretting hand.

It'd also be worth taking into account the fact that you haven't lowered the action yet, playing with tighter action will definitly increase finger strength and make it easier to go back to low action. Not that I'd recommend putting yourself through pain and discomfort in order to strengthen your fingers. Music must be aesthetic, not ascetic.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:28 AM   #4
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It will also help your precision. You can hear every note you play better. I love that high gain tube amp distortion, but sometimes it's better to play on the acoustic for that reason.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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It won't help speed no, but you do have to be more precise like ryan says - you have to work a lot harder to "earn" your tone on an acustic, there's no effects or distortion to hide behind.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoe11
Does playing the acoustic strengthen my fingers to be able do that?

yes.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:07 PM   #7
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Playing an acoustic that is set too high or has other faults that make it more difficult to play will make your properly set up electric feel like heaven.

If the acoustic is set up perfectly, the playing feel of your fretting hand should be the same or very close.

The most learning you experience by playing an acoustic VS electric is in the area of dynamics (volume) of your picked notes and the fact that some chords that work on a distorted electric don't translate over to acoustic very well.

Your picking technique will improve on an acoustic or you will at least be motivated to improve it enough to not hate how you sound on one.

After you get better with dynamics, you might want to run less or no compression on your electric now that you have a better handle on volume of individual notes.

That said, in this world of presets and other effects, it is sometimes hard to do away with or adjust compression.

Jeff Beck is probably the greatest master of dynamics on electric guitar and, while his technique is his alone, his level of dynamics control can be had by anybody willing to learn.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowlerMonkey
Playing an acoustic that is set too high or has other faults that make it more difficult to play will make your properly set up electric feel like heaven.


yeah i think that's it. A bit like the way (this may be apocryphal ) that pro basketball players often practice with a smaller-than-regulation hoop, because then the full-size hoop feels giant.

At the same time, if you're only playing electric, it's debatable if making it hard on yourself is really worth the bother, you might get as far just by practising electric more.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:48 AM   #9
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I put a set of 12's on my spare guitar to increase my finger strength. It worked really well. It makes 10's feel a lot easier to play on.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clegtr
I think it definetely strengthens your fingers a lot. Finger speed is something different though. Better strength helps developing speed though.


Plus One. The only caution, however, is that if you're using a light touch on the electric, stick with the electric if you want to develop speed; you might find yourself gorilla gripping notes as you would on an acoustic that you simply don't need to on the electric.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #11
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In my experience playing a big fat neck stretches my hands out and makes it much easier to wrap my fingers around anything with a smaller neck. So the may be an advantage in terms of speed, however indirectly.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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Playing different guitars in general will improve your overall techique in time.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:05 PM   #13
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Anything that makes guitar playing more challenging will improve your abilities one way or another. It may not be anything major or may only help your technique or it may spark creativity. Regardless, practicing is practicing, and practicing is improving.... unless of course you're teaching yourself horrible technique and not being constructive in general.

And honestly this applies to just about anything. School, video games, your work, and so on. The more challenges and goals you set for yourself the more improvement you'll find.

Record your playing often as well. You'll be surprised at how much you "sucked" last year, last month, or yesterday.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:38 PM   #14
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I dunno. if it makes it so challenging you just quit it won't help Plus there's pointlessly challenging- if it's harder than it'd ever be in a real world situation, you might get better results from just practising properly
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
I dunno. if it makes it so challenging you just quit it won't help Plus there's pointlessly challenging- if it's harder than it'd ever be in a real world situation, you might get better results from just practising properly


I guess you have a point.. There really isn't much since in trying to play Eruption while doing a coal walk and juggling chainsaws... that being said...you'd definitely develop a unique skill!
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
I dunno. if it makes it so challenging you just quit it won't help Plus there's pointlessly challenging- if it's harder than it'd ever be in a real world situation, you might get better results from just practising properly

This.

Learning to play the guitar is hard enough as it is, there's nothing to be gained from deliberately adding further complications - arguably you'll get far more benefit from doing everything you can to make things as easy as possible.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:08 PM   #17
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^^ lol yeah

^ yeah- now obviously there's a fine (and pretty grey) line between making it genuinely as easy as possible and cheating/cutting corners etc. (say, using loads of gain or compression to cover up for dodgy technique, or using a noise gate for a similar thing), but yeah. I'm never much a fan of making things hard for the sake of it. If you check out most killer famous players they're doing the opposite, making it as easy for themselves as possible. I mean you don't see vettel scooting round monaco in a yugo, for example
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:40 PM   #18
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I play acoustic more than my electrics and to be honest when I do pickup my electric it just feels lifeless. I love the way an acoustic vibrates and you can feel everything. So I would say go ahead and play it if for no other reason than to just be doing something you loves in a different way.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:15 PM   #19
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^^ lol yeah

^ yeah- now obviously there's a fine (and pretty grey) line between making it genuinely as easy as possible and cheating/cutting corners etc. (say, using loads of gain or compression to cover up for dodgy technique, or using a noise gate for a similar thing), but yeah. I'm never much a fan of making things hard for the sake of it. If you check out most killer famous players they're doing the opposite, making it as easy for themselves as possible. I mean you don't see vettel scooting round monaco in a yugo, for example


True, but at the same time watching every episode of Top Gear, when the F1 Drivers hit the track in the Suzuki every single one has said something along the lines of pushing the car to the limit, (which has a very attainable "limit") shows true driver skill. I'm not saying spending a track day in a Prius makes you a better driver than someone who brought a 911 GT3rs, but it definitely forces you to focus on fundamentals, smooth driving, precision, and car control. For instance, any small error in a slow car losing 2mph in a turn = a large difference in time; while a supercar, 2 mph in the turn can be made up before the next turn.

And +1, cutting corners with effects, gain...things that make sloppy playing sound good should be avoided. But adding challenges such as drastically using less gain than normal, playing clean, or playing unamplified is definitely more challenging and may lead to an increased awareness of what one may be doing wrong, which may lead to correcting the problem, which may lead to better playing.




Quote:
Originally Posted by steven seagull
This.

Learning to play the guitar is hard enough as it is, there's nothing to be gained from deliberately adding further complications - arguably you'll get far more benefit from doing everything you can to make things as easy as possible.


I wouldn't say there is nothing to be gained by deliberately making something harder than before.

This example is from Petrucci, albeit no verbatim but the basic gist of it...Lets say you're trying to learn an intense solo at 120bpm. No matter what you're just not nailing it. Attempting to play the same thing at 130bpm and then going back to 120 definitely feels easier. And this is "deliberately adding further complications".

Same goes with trying to play a riff on a not-so-properly setup guitar vs. one that is perfect. If you can play it well on the average guitar, playing it on the better guitar is just going to be easier.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:25 PM   #20
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yeah. it just depends, really.
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