Just wanted to quit lurking in the shadows and introduce myself. Not sure if I should be in the new member section, but my instrument and questions pertain to acoustic.

A little about me; I started playing about 4 years ago, however after learning a handful of songs and never any fundamentals, I quickly became frustrated with no progress and stopped playing. About 3 months ago now Ive started from the ground up. Im trying to learn scales, notes, chord shapes and beginning theory. There is tons of great info online, and Ive been trying to decide myself what I should and shouldnt learn next. But, being a newbie, I have no real reason why I should try and learn one thing over another. So far Ive learned all the natural notes up to the 12th fret, and am starting to learn names to go with them. Ive learned some basic shapes, pentatonic, pro blues, voodoo blues. Ive been practicing alternate picking and am starting to feel comfortable with it. Ive gotten comfortable with my chord shapes, but it still takes me more time then i would like to transition. I dont have a set in stone practice time for each. I kind of pick up the guitar for about an hour a day and just go through what I feel like doing at the time. I havent been learning any real songs yet, I am trying to hone my fundamentals first, so I dont fall into the same trap as last time I started.

So thats kind of where I stand right now. Am I on the right track so far? What should/ shouldnt I keep doing, and what should I start doing?

If it helps, Im playing an OvationMOB57, using Fender medium MOTO picks, and have an old kustom amp for when i want to plug in.
I think all that anyone could tell you is to keep it up.

The only advice I would offer is to: 1) practice with a metronome, which will help immensely with your ability to keep time, and 2) practice songs, too. I'm not big on music theory personally, so this might be biased, but I know I would quickly get frustrated/bored if my practice sessions were filled with scales and random chord shapes. Spend the first half of your practice sessions learning new music theory stuff, spend the other half working on songs that you like. I think you're much more likely to stay interested this time if you do it this way.
yea thanks for the tips. Im sure my timing is off, and its probably just a good practice habit to get into. What would you recommend for speeds when first using one?
Wow, like looking in the mirror. The exact same thing happened to me. About 3 years learning a couple of songs and then I just quit. After reading a lot of stuff on guitar on the net I found out that my guitar action was too high, the neck was bent, and other stuff. After I fixed all the issues, everything was easier. So this should be your number 1 concern: make sure that your instrument doesn't have any problems. Concern number 2 in learning theory should be getting a video to follow, like Frank Gambale's Chop Builder, which is one hour long and covers a lot of things. Just learn what you are interested in. It's a lot easier to learn from video than from a book. And practicing along with the video solves your timing issues. This video also teaches you speed.
seems like yoour doing alright so far. learning a few songs while your at it wouldnt be a bad idea. gotta have some reward for all of that work. decent starter guitar you got there. if the actions too high, that one does have shims under the saddle to lower the strings. being an Ovation fan myself, i applaud your choice in guitars, i'd like to get a Tangent eventually. too bad they dont make 'em with a mid or deep bowl.
I think my instrument is at least in working condition, ive tried to baby her as much as possible. Ill have to check out Frank Gambales videos. Ive also been watching freepowerUGs videos on youtube too, and trying to pick up as much as i can from them.

Alright good to hear. Yea being that my experience is rather low, and pretty much non existent on other guitars, would you recommend lowering the action?
lowering the strings does make it a lot easier to play. next time you change strings( about once a month), just pull up the saddle and there should be 2 thin shims under it. just take 1 out and see if yo like it better. next string change, take out the other or put the first back in. and of course, if your in doubt as to the condition/playability of your MOB57, just send it to me. i could use another Ovation for my collection....err...umm... i mean i'll happily check it out and promptly send it back to you
Well curiosity got the best of me. I took both shims out. What difference, I feel faster without doing much at all. Unfortunately as nice as 2 out is, I am getting some string buzz on low e when played open and first fret. I tried adjusting the truss rod to see if i could correct it. No dice though. So I am going to have to stick one shim back in (both my shims were the same thickness). Is changing strings out that often the norm? I haven't changed mine since I bought it.... hahaha. Being an Ovation aficianado, have you found any particular strings that work best or should I just stick with a new set of stock strings? And for some reason I think we both might have a different definition of promptly.... haha
Last edited by NatyDreadnought at Mar 5, 2012,
If it's fret buzz on just the open and first then you need to file down the first and second frets under that particular string. It would be best to use a fret file but you can manage with a normal one as long as you make it round again when you finish.
You actually have a few options here.

I you can get a hold of another saddle, and can sand it down on a slant, taking more off the high string side, than the bass.

You can, (as you suggested), put back one of the shims.

You can also attempt filing the E-6 string 1st & 2nd frets as bloodfont has suggested.

This is the most sophisticated, as well as the riskiest approach. It's probably also the one you're most likely to screw up being inexperienced. It's also the approach the doesn't offer an easy possibility of a do over. At least without a serious investment, and a possible bailout by a qualified luthier.

You truss rod adjustment is another suspect operation. But first be specific, did you loosen it, (which would be the correct approach for eliminating the buzz, or tighten it, which would likely make the buzz worse.

I always advocate a conservative setup, in lieu of going all out and trying to get the lowest action possible. It usually results in pushing the envelope too far. This is because the fret jobs aren't as good as they might be in a handmade instrument, and likely haven't been dressed properly.

Just a decent adjustment of the action height, yields a marked improvement in playability, enough to satisfy all but the most of obsessive of guitarists.

For a complete guide to steel string setup, refer to Mr. TH Beckers excellent web pages here: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 5, 2012,
Learning some chords and scales is a good place to start. Eventually, you want to be able to understand how the chords work (i.e learn chord construction), and what the scales are all about (instead of just a bunch of patterns up and down the neck).

Also, learn the logic of the barre chords. You may not be able to properly play a barre chord, but knowing why it's like this doesn't hurt your progress.

Having said that though, I think you shouldn't focus solely on just the fundamentals. By doing this you're essentially the perfect student, but you may burn yourself out doing this. Doing all these theory isn't very fun, especially when you can't take a break and just play some songs.

Start looking up easy songs that you like and try to learn them. Many pop songs are simple chord progressions, so you're bound to find a song you like that you want to learn.
cranky's choice of the d'addario EXP 16's is dead on perfect !. i use those on my 2 shallow bowls and my mid-depth ones. no matter which strings you use, unfortunately you have the handicap of it being a very thin bodied guitar. it will always lack the deep rich tones of a "flat-backin' " traditional guitar. yours sounds great amped up and needs only a touch of reverb plugged in, that's what it was designed for. unplugged no matter what you do it'll always be a bit tinny. the ease of play and virtual indestructibility that the Ovation offers makes up for it's short-comings
the truss rod should NEVER be adjusted unless you're a luthier. its too easy to screw something up worse.. (kinda like a blind guy going out for a drive) just put 1 shim back in for now and when you step up to the EXP16's (which are mediums btw) take the 2nd one back out. the extra tension in the mediums will lift the strings slightly anyway.
Last edited by stepchildusmc at Mar 5, 2012,
Quote by stepchildusmc
when you step up to the EXP16's (which are mediums btw) take the 2nd one back out. the extra tension in the mediums will lift the strings slightly anyway.
Actually, EXP-16s are "lights". (.012 to .053). EXP-17s are the medium set. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/daddario-exp17-coated-phosphor-bronze-medium-acoustic-guitar-strings/104341000000000 That said, EXP-16s are closer to medium than they are to acoustic "extra light".`

As to truss rod adjustments, it's to a manufacturers advantage to have the relief setting done correctly when the guitar is shipped, since I doubt very much they want the proud new owner screwing with it. I suspect the actions are left intentionally high for a couple of reasons. It's always impressive when you have a good amount of saddle showing over the bridge, and the high action disguises any inconsistencies in the fret work. Then there's the issue of touch. A heavy hand can almost extract fret buzz from almost any action.
Thanks for the response guys. I did in fact loosen the truss rod to try and eliminate the buzz (as per instructions by OvationGuitars on youtube) but couldnt correct the problem that way. I went out and bought a new set of strings, unfortunately EXPs weren't at my local music store so I bought the D'Addario EJ16 strings instead. Strung them up with one shim in place and no fret buzz at all. I would be wary of doing any type of permanent adjustments, and like the idea of possibly sanding down the bridge, or could I just sand down a shim so that it is almost flat at one end?
Thanks for the THbecker link, explains a lot simply.
And as everyone has recommended Ill start working some songs into my practice schedule as well.
poop ! your right cranky, had to go look at my string collection( i keep about 10-15 extra sets.). the red label exp17's are my mediums. they help give my shallows a little more bass and tone. the 16's i keep for the Blonde's guitar. my bad dread... next string change grab the EXP17's( i pick 'em up in bulk on ebay or music123)