#1
I'm new to guitar. Been playing an acoustic for six weeks. Tried dreadnought size and found it very uncomfortable. I have had shoulder and arm issues recently, but that is pretty much resolved after various therapies. I've been using a smaller body acoustic guitar and I still get a sore right shoulder. The body is 4" depth. I've tried sitting in different chairs and stools, holding the guitar different ways, and my instructor thinks I look fine. But it hurts.

I'm now wondering if an electric guitar will be more comfortable.

Anyone out there play both acoustic and electric who can comment?

I'll probably rent an electric and small amp to give it a shot...

Thanks
#2
Dreads can be a bit uncomfortable for some folks, even without lingering shoulder/arm issues. A narrower waist guitar can often help without losing tone. The GS series of Taylors, for example, has a narrower waist and can be a surprising difference in comfort. It's not a smaller guitar overall, but can be a lot more comfortable.

Electric can be a LOT easier on you. Probably the most ergonomic shape is the Fender Stratocaster, and you should probably start with the lightest one you can find (that still has a solid body).

Somewhere in between would be the Taylor T5. Unplugged, it's very much an acoustic guitar (but much quieter), and there are three pickups that allow you to transition between acoustic guitar sounds and very much electric sounds. Highly recommended, but expensive. It's probably the best of the hybrid genre.
#3
Quote by dspellman
Dreads can be a bit uncomfortable for some folks, even without lingering shoulder/arm issues. A narrower waist guitar can often help without losing tone. The GS series of Taylors, for example, has a narrower waist and can be a surprising difference in comfort. It's not a smaller guitar overall, but can be a lot more comfortable.

Electric can be a LOT easier on you. Probably the most ergonomic shape is the Fender Stratocaster, and you should probably start with the lightest one you can find (that still has a solid body).

Somewhere in between would be the Taylor T5. Unplugged, it's very much an acoustic guitar (but much quieter), and there are three pickups that allow you to transition between acoustic guitar sounds and very much electric sounds. Highly recommended, but expensive. It's probably the best of the hybrid genre.


Thanks. I'm in talks with my music shop (where I bought my acoustic and am taking lessons) about 'what to do next'. I'm pretty sure I'm going to rent an electric soon, and if I can play without the should/arm pain I think that will be the way to go.

As I'm a noob to electric guitars and amps, can you offer a few suggestions on how to play at home without too much noise (I'm assuming I can simply dial down the amp).
#4
Electric feels EXTREMELY more comfortable depending on what you get. If you go with electric, decide what body style you like, and then ask about guitars with forearm or belly cuts. If you decide to stick with acoustic tryout a parlor sized guitar and see if it is more comfortable. If you want a little of both ask anout a hollow bodied guitar. Just visit a local music store and try some various types, shapes, and styles. The only negatives are solid bodied electrics are very quiet without an amp so you will always need an amp, acoustics are bigger and quite bulky and usually you are stuck with whatever sound the acoustic emmits, and finally hollow bodied electrics vary widely, they are usually a little more expensive, and they are quite big and would not be desired for playing heavy genres like metal, or harder rock. You just gotta' find what you like best, sound-wise and comfort-wise.
#5
And about the loudness of an electric, lower wattage amps typically are more quite, and yes, you can simply dial them down, but if you have a huge cab or a trillion watts, you will lose some tone when dialed too far down. if you do decide to go electric, I would reccomend a Peavey Vypyr VIP series amp for a practice amp as well as a beginners amp.
#6
I like to play a bit loud-ish, and simply turning down an amp is decidedly unsatisfying.
So I have a modeler (in particular, a Line 6 Pod HD series) and a set of good earphones (in my case, AKG-240's). I can play that to tinnitus-inducing levels and no one can hear me wail.

If I want to hear what I'm doing without the headphones, I can run the modeler into a pair of powered speakers (in my case, again, a set of KRK Rokit 8's that also reproduce my keyboards). If you use something the equivalent of recording monitors like the KRKs, they're usually "nearfield" speakers designed to sound best at a 6-8' listening distance. The Pod's controls will dial the volume up or down, and even though the low frequency driver is only an 8" speaker, it's capable of lower bass than most guitar amps.

Another option is to run the modeler into a larger powered speaker (for example, a Carvin PM12A or similar) that would normally be used for small/medium venue PA work. These reproduce the modelers very well, are light and easy to carry, can be set up on an amp stand or a speaker stand, can be used as a wedge monitor, and the Carvin even has a mini-mixer on the back in case you want to plug a vocal microphone (or another guitar) into it.
#7
The thinner body of electrics can be more comfortable and I agree the strat is very easy to find and one of the better shapes for comfort. For playing quietly I would recommend a Roland cube as a good little amp that don't lose anything at low volumes.

Another option might be getting a strap and leaning to play standing up.
#8
Squier makes a Classic Vibe Thinline Tele which is a Semi-Hollow body guitar. Its very light and easy to play. I have one and I love it. It sounds like it might be the perfect guitar for you.

As for an amp, I think a small solid state amp with built in effects would work well. I have had both a Mustang v2 I and a Vox VT+ amp. Either would be a good choice.
"We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so." - BB King

"The thrill is being able to do it...even if you play it badly" - The Edge.

8 Guitars, 4 Amps, 3 Multi Pedals...and never done!
#9
I play both, but I'm lucky insofar as I have never had an ergonomic problem with either.

Are you playing in the classical position with a foot rest? That is easier than then standing, or the right-knee potion adopted by many steel string players.

A traditional Fender or Gibson solidbody electric shape would by easier to play. I happy using a small amp at acoustic guitar volumes. I'm old-fashioned, its a tube amp (modded Epi VJ) with a few pedals. I find digital multiFX and modelling too distracting - too many sounds, not enough notes.