#1
I have this 10-20 year old Yamaha acoustic that is rather hard to play. It is particularly hard to play the 1st fret on the b string, or have any sort of barres on the first fret. I thought it was hard to play cuz the neck is abit warped and thus the action is high but i recently found out that i have too much slack on the strings and i was wondering if this could also contribute to the problem. The strings that are currently on it are 11's, which i know i could change to a lower gauge and that would help but i want it to have higher gauge strings so that when i play my electric it seems really easy.
So do you guys think its possible that the slack is whats making it hard to play?
Also, is it possibly harmful for my hands to be playing it? Im only asking because ive been playing this guitar alot more recently but my hands are still really sore and don't seem to have adapted to it even though ive played this guitar almost every day for a 10 months now and have been playing it at least 3-4 hours every day this past week. My fretting hand especially doesn't seem to have adjusted, it tires way to fast on this guitar. And I've been playing for 2 years now so it's not because im just not used to playing guitar.
And final question, i've been trying to build up my technique on it, in particular tremolo picking to a metronome and building up power chord strumming speed. Is it a bad idea to try to build up these techniques on an acoustic instead of an electric?
Any replies would be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by cal1fub3ralle5 at Jun 24, 2010,
#2
i think it just need truss rod and action adjustment.
practicing on it shouldnt be worse than playing on your electric if youre doing it right
#3
First off, the strings you currently have on the acoustic are considered extra lights. If you go much lower in gauge you'll most likely lose a lot of tone. Acoustic guitars are built to withstand the tension of .012 gauge for the most part. I know of a couple of people on here that like to run .010's on theirs, patticake for one. I personally shy away from such a thin gauge as I like the fuller sound I get from a beefier set of strings.
Secondly, when you say slack, I assume you're referring to string tension. There isn't much you can do about this as it is what it is when the strings are tuned up. A different gauge will alter this a bit, but if the guitar is properly tuned up, this will remain constant. Altered tunings, esp. lower ones, will of course allow for less string tension.
And lastly, when you say that the neck is warped, are you talking about bow? As in the curvature of the fretboard? It should have a slight inward bow to it so that the strings have room to vibrate freely without fretting out and buzzing. If the neck is perfectly straight, they can buzz, and if it's in a backbow state they most certainly will. Warp is a different thing entirely and goes along with twist. If in doubt, bring it in to a reputable luthier to have it gone over and possibly have a setup performed on it. Just describe the issues you have with it and the outcome you would like to see and take it from there.
#4
Quote by LeftyDave
First off, the strings you currently have on the acoustic are considered extra lights. If you go much lower in gauge you'll most likely lose a lot of tone. Acoustic guitars are built to withstand the tension of .012 gauge for the most part. I know of a couple of people on here that like to run .010's on theirs, patticake for one. I personally shy away from such a thin gauge as I like the fuller sound I get from a beefier set of strings.
Secondly, when you say slack, I assume you're referring to string tension. There isn't much you can do about this as it is what it is when the strings are tuned up. A different gauge will alter this a bit, but if the guitar is properly tuned up, this will remain constant. Altered tunings, esp. lower ones, will of course allow for less string tension.
And lastly, when you say that the neck is warped, are you talking about bow? As in the curvature of the fretboard? It should have a slight inward bow to it so that the strings have room to vibrate freely without fretting out and buzzing. If the neck is perfectly straight, they can buzz, and if it's in a backbow state they most certainly will. Warp is a different thing entirely and goes along with twist. If in doubt, bring it in to a reputable luthier to have it gone over and possibly have a setup performed on it. Just describe the issues you have with it and the outcome you would like to see and take it from there.

Sorry i messed up, i meant it has .13's on it. I confused it with my electric.
I didn't mean the general string tension, i meant the number of times i wound the string around the peg when changing the strings. I usually do the ''pull it out to the next tuning peg/1 inch'' method and then wind it up but i read that that could be too much, so i was wondering if that could cause the seemingly excessive string tension.
And about the neck, i was talking about the bow. I think it's bowed inward just a little too much than it should be.
I'd rather not take it anywhere for a setup since im not exactly high on cash right now and all the guitar places in my area charge around 50 bucks for a setup, which is pretty close to the guitars worth. And not having a license or any way of getting around really limits my options.
#5
i wouldn't put 13's are mediums, and are pretty heavy. i use 10's - my fretting hand failed to get any stronger after years and years but most people use 12's. if you've been playing every day and it's still hard, a switch to lighter strings will help, although chances are you need a setup.

how to tell if your neck is too bowed, and what to do about it:
http://www.frets.com/fretspages/musician/gensetup/trussrods/trussrodadj/tradj.html

you can find out how to string your guitar on youtube. i don't think having too many wraps would affect string tension, but it couldn't hurt to know what you're doing.
#6
Again, I recommend the excellent Frets.Com site:
http://www.frets.com/

The guy is a professional repairman who gives good, solid instructions on all these subjects.
Hard fretting/barring at the lower frets is usually a sign that the action at the nut is too high.
#7
Both patti and Bikewer above are right on. As for the too many wraps thing, it can't in any way shape or form affect the string tension once at concert pitch(standard tuning). If anything, too many wraps can lead to slippage at the tuning posts. I always wrap mine with one full wrap around the post going over the hole, or farthest from the face of the headstock, then 2 or 3 wraps below that before the string heads down to the nut and neck. I get a solid lock on the string with no slippage, and no slipping once the strings have settled in. Very stable tuning in other words. The neck bow is very easily checked. Place a capo at the first fret position and then fret the low E at the 14th fret. The string is now a perfect straight edge, and you can use it to check the fretboard relief. The clearance of about a credit card thickness between the bottom of the string and the 7th fret is right in the ballpark. If you're a heavy strummer, you may need a little more. If you're a light finger picker, you can get away with a little less. Adjust the truss rod about 1/4 turns as needed to remedy if it's out of tolerance. Counterclockwise will give more relief as the truss is under less tension and the strings will pull more bow into the neck. Tightening the truss clockwise will cause the neck to flatten out.
Again, frets.com is the place to go for tutorials and visual walkthroughs of these procedures if you want to tackle it on your own. It's not rocket science, just take your time and do the steps right and you'll be just fine.
Last edited by LeftyDave at Jun 25, 2010,