#1
Hey, i'm new to the UG Community!

After waiting for a couple months, i just received my guitar today, a Taylor Big Baby.
I like it a lot, the appearance, sound and also since I have small hands, the width and height of the fretboard is just right for me. But sadly, it was damaged when I opened it so i'll be returning it for a new one which will come in another two weeks.

I'm experienced with Classical Guitars with their nylon strings which were pretty easy and simple to play with since they're not too difficult to press and play as to steel strings.

Since the Taylor Big Baby has steel strings, i've been having difficulty putting enough pressure on the strings so that it would produce a clear sound but because it requires a lot of pressure and it also hurts my fingers a lot, it comes out as a buzzing and unclear sound. I know, my fingers aren't that strong....lol. It just gets really tiring and painful to hold and have that hard/same pressure against the strings.

Is there any way to reduce the pressure so it'd be more easier for me to play and press down the strings more comfortably? I've heard about changing the strings or something about adjusting the truss rod.

Any advice?
#2
Could be a high action or could just be that you need to get used it. Measure the distance from the strings to the 12th fret and let us know.
#3
I would try lighter strings and a set up to start, also it takes time for the muscles in your fingers to adjust and get more efficient/stronger. Try to play slow and use the minimum amount of pressure without buzzing I know this sounds really obvious, but when the strings are buzzing the natural reaction is to over compensate and press harder than needed.
#4
just have it set up properly with some extra light strings and you should be fine. You gotta build up those calluses playing a steel strings!!
#5
Ghobby's advice seems just about perfect. Only thing I would question is the damage that was done during shipping. Was it enough to cause the neck to shift and lift the action ? I'd probably not worry about it until the replacement guitar comes in.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#6
Most Taylors come pretty play-able from the factory, but the "baby" is one of their lower-end models.
Have a technician look at the action... It may well be in need of adjustment.
If the action is optimal.... It's mostly a matter of sticking with it. Lighter strings may help, but Taylor also has a habit of shipping guitars with string gauges optimized for that particular model.

So... Play a lot, but a little at a time. Do not "play until your fingers bleed". Pick up the instrument, play a few chords, and when your fingers start to hurt, put it down.
Go play catch. Try it again some hours later.
It's not "no pain, no gain." It's about your body gradually adapting to the pressure by forming callous.
#7
Quote by mahealani.pudiq
....[ ].....Since the Taylor Big Baby has steel strings, i've been having difficulty putting enough pressure on the strings so that it would produce a clear sound but because it requires a lot of pressure and it also hurts my fingers a lot, it comes out as a buzzing and unclear sound. I know, my fingers aren't that strong....lol. It just gets really tiring and painful to hold and have that hard/same pressure against the strings.

Is there any way to reduce the pressure so it'd be more easier for me to play and press down the strings more comfortably? I've heard about changing the strings or something about adjusting the truss rod.

Any advice?
Yes don't listen to the advice from"strat-O-matic92. Or, at least temper it with a bit of good judgement.

Anybody can slap super light strings on an acoustic, and make it easier to play. But, you pay a penalty in sound quality. The bass is the first to go, and along with it the guitar's volume and projection.

You of course can, use very light strings, but as you progress, you should be probably be putting on the next heavier set, until you get to acoustic light. Acoustic light is pretty much the optimum for good sound across the board, but they're not so heavy as to hasten the instrument's demise.

As others have stated, setup is crucial to any guitars playability. That said, please read and digest the material in this guide: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html It will tell you what the optimum settings for an acoustic are, and the sequence in which the operations are to be performed. (The truss rod might need a touch of adjustment, but normally it's in the area of 1/4 turn, not much more).

With all of that out of the way, keep in mind that playing the acoustic guitar is GOING to HURT. There isn't any way around that. In the same way that an ice skater makes the most difficult of tricks look easy, a long time guitar makes playing look effortless. It really isn't. and it's never going to be. I still have black fingertips, and grooves across the tips of my fingers after playing for about an hour, and I've been doing it off and on for about 50 years.

So buck up a bit, or buy a piano....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 19, 2014,
#8
Factory mass produced guitars will have a factory setup not a good setup. You will have to get the guitar setup by a pro to get the best out of it.
#9
All of the advice above is good. A proper setup from a good tech. is probably the best investment you will make in your new guitar, at least until you learn to do it yourself. You have a very good guitar there. A Taylor looked after will last a lifetime. You know the old saying "Don't spoil the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar" (or is that just a British expression?).

Light gauge strings, build up slowly. All good advice...

But what I do when I lay off for a while and need to build up strength and callouses is to drop the tuning by a whole tone. Then play for a few weeks, then tune up a semi-tone, play for a few more weeks, then tune up to concert pitch.

It helps me, it might help you.
Last edited by deano_l at Feb 20, 2014,
#10
It requires little pressure to push the strings to the frets. Even with higher action. Higher end acoustics are set up pretty well from the factory and I wouldn't trust a "tech" with any of my guitars. Set up is easy, just learn how to do it yourself VIA utube. I see the death grip used mith many acoustic players and the more experienced players have to tune a little flat because they grab the neck so hard that they pull the chords sharp.

The reason you're getting a thud is because you're probably muting the other strings with your fretting fingers. Don't give up and try using more finesse and less grip. And don't trust a self proclaimed "tech".
#11
Quote by squier55
It requires little pressure to push the strings to the frets. Even with higher action. Higher end acoustics are set up pretty well from the factory and I wouldn't trust a "tech" with any of my guitars. Set up is easy, just learn how to do it yourself VIA utube. I see the death grip used mith many acoustic players and the more experienced players have to tune a little flat because they grab the neck so hard that they pull the chords sharp.

The reason you're getting a thud is because you're probably muting the other strings with your fretting fingers. Don't give up and try using more finesse and less grip. And don't trust a self proclaimed "tech".

" i wouldn't be so paranoid if everyone wasn't out to get me !"
seriously, wait until the replacement guitar comes in...hopefully undamaged this time.
if this is your first guitar( and what a great one to start with !), your fingers will be sore for a little while until you start to develop callouses on your fingertips.
the thudding issue will go away in time with practice and technique adjustments.... we all go trhough it.
be patient and enjoy the ride, it's a fun and rewarding one
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#12
Quote by squier55
It requires little pressure to push the strings to the frets. Even with higher action. Higher end acoustics are set up pretty well from the factory and I wouldn't trust a "tech" with any of my guitars.
Here we go again. The more money you spend, the less work you have with the setup, and by extension, your hands. In this case, the guitar has already been purchased. So the "high end guitar" ship has already sailed...... Another thing we have to contend with in this forum is musicians who aren't "handymen" themselves. So, a 1st guitar, is tantamount to being a first experiment at setup as well. Without the tools or specific skills needed, a guitarist can do more harm than good to his precious instrument. So, I offer this, you CAN trust a tech, but you have to investigate FIRST, whether "XXX" tech is trustworthy.

Quote by squier55
Set up is easy, just learn how to do it yourself VIA utube.
I already linked a superior tutorial on acoustic setup. But, I understand the children of today have little patience with reading. So perhaps, we can lift parents burdens even at the very start of their young lives, but putting videos about how to tie your shoes on YouTube.

Quote by squier55
I see the death grip used mith many acoustic players and the more experienced players have to tune a little flat because they grab the neck so hard that they pull the chords sharp.
All the advice about, "very little pressure is required to fret the strings", is more appropriate in an electric forum. Since speed and economy of motion is the pathway to becoming a big time "shredder", and the amplifier is contributing most of the dynamics.

Quote by squier55
The reason you're getting a thud is because you're probably muting the other strings with your fretting fingers.

"Muting the strings", is a symptom, not a cure. Getting your wrist far enough forward under the neck, and keeping the fingertips at close to a true right angle to the fretboard.....IS.

They probably "use a death grip", because they are playing hard, fast, intense rhythms, with a lot of dynamic content. So, the harder you swing, the harder you have to hold down the strings. Bluegrass players are emblematic of this. Many of them use acoustic medium strings, (or heavies?), and strum for all they're worth. So, a set of p***y a** .009s, is pretty much out of the question in that context.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 23, 2014,