#1
So I'm usually strictly an electric player unless I get bored and decide to give my acoustic some love. However, I recently sent out my current electric to be repaired by Epiphone and I have a new electric guitar that may not be here until next week. Since I almost never play my steel string acoustic (Fender DG-8S) I didn't really realize how different it would be doing chops exercises. There's a certain... I don't know what you would call it "Stiffness?" to the strings that an electric doesn't have. I did an alternate picking and sweep picking exercise on it and the strings are noticeably more rigid and even require more force to fret. Will this be good for my chops as a whole? I assume after I get one of my two electrics back playing them will be as smooth as butter since I have to deal with just using my acoustic for the next few days.

Disregard if you use heavy gauge strings on your electrics. Lol

Everything is noticeably more difficult. Bends, Vibrato, Alternate Picking, Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, ETC.
#2
of course they are very different guitars designed for very different uses..and yes the fender is not going to let you burn so don't blame the guitar..

now .. using an acoustic as a tool for stretching and chord work and getting all notes to ring true..is a valuable aid in your playing..that said there are players that can burn like crazy on acoustic..but it will take a lot of practice to achieve the desired result..(check out: al dimiola, john McLaughlin, paco de lucia)
play well

wolf
#3
From my experience, I was taught on an acoustic guitar and made to play that before I could play an electric and I can definitely say that playing on an acoustic will force you to be more intricate with your fingers and will build more strength.

Practicing on an acoustic will definitely help out with most everything except for whole step string bends, those can be really difficult on acoustics and if your exercises include those you may not be able to play them properly.

Just from my experience.
#4
I consider acoustics and electrics to be two different instruments. The electrics being particularly different because they require an amp (which itself is an instrument with varying degrees of merit).

But, having said that, my two cents: the more you play an acoustic, the better you will be with an electric.

Your mileage may differ, of course!

The acoustic was the original instrument. Stringed instruments have been around for a thousand years. Electrics are relatively recent. And few people who play both of them play them the same way. I certainly don't. My acoustic picking style, developed over decades, just doesn't translate to an electric. So I play an electric entirely differently than I play an acoustic. Remarkably different. And I always pick up an acoustic first thing in the morning rather than an electric.

But when I go back to basics? Back to scales and runs? I grab an acoustic pretty much every time.
“High fly ball into right field. She is… gone!" - Vin Scully
#5
I play a lot of acoustic ... but I have it set up for legato ... with heavyish strings ... and yes it did make a big improvement to my playing. But I play a lot of electric too (metal, jazz, rock, blue ...).

I like the acoustic for several reasons, including dynamics, and the fact that the sound is down to me and it, with nothing else in the middle.
#6
Play the instrument best suited to your style or genres. I played acoustic for about 30 years before I took up electric, and another 20 years on, I have never developed a good touch with electrics. Conversely, I have not heard many electric players who sound good on an acoustic.
#7
Two similar yet different guitars. Hard to compare. It also depends on the style you play (mostly how much gain you play with). They require different technique. Some can be mainly good at one or the other while some are good at both.

Whether or not playing on an acoustic will aid your electric playing, I do not know but I can't imagine it making a big enough difference to emphasise doing it. The typical differences I've observed is people who play strictly acoustic/clean may have poor muting technique on an electric while people who almost never touch an acoustic might initially find acoustic stiff as you said and have difficulty ringing every string cleanly. But I feel that ultimately, the best practice is to simply practice on the instrument you'll end up playing.
#8
Quote by Tony Done
Play the instrument best suited to your style or genres. I played acoustic for about 30 years before I took up electric, and another 20 years on, I have never developed a good touch with electrics. Conversely, I have not heard many electric players who sound good on an acoustic.


This is very true - each guitar really has it's own touch - classical, electric and acoustic. Electric is, by far, the most finicky when it comes to tuning and touch.
#9
Quote by reverb66
This is very true - each guitar really has it's own touch - classical, electric and acoustic. Electric is, by far, the most finicky when it comes to tuning and touch.


Pretty much this. You can't learn them all just by learning one. To an extent, you can extend it and say that there is even the same difference between a clean and distorted electric guitar.

The tuning problems are also particularly notable and overlooked. Electrics, being harmonically richer (due to the amplification process) produce more complex timbres that clash in 12 TET compared to acoustic. Lighter strings also must be played more delicately to avoid playing sharp. This only increases with distortion.

Luckily for guitarists it's not nearly as bad as it is playing steel guitar, which have much hotter pickups. Just being 5 cents away from a perfect interval on a pedal steel is excruciating to listen to when it is being played solo. Blending with other instruments, it isn't so bad.

Also there are more than just physical differences, but also stylistic differences. What you might play on acoustic might sound like a big mess on electric. Something that rings out and uses harmony, bass lines, counterpoint, etc. What you play on electric would sound empty on an acoustic and may be impossible for all practical purposes on an acoustic. The stylistic trademarks of an instrument evolve around the instruments physical qualities and are very uniquely adapted to that particular instrument.

Compare these two:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLeTiSF9048
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV4n8fJGip0

The former would not work so well on an electric guitar, especially with gain. The latter would be pretty much impossible on an acoustic (nylon or steel string) since it requires too much finesse with light picking, fast legato, easy string action, etc that would also make it sound silly and dynamically poor due to not having the natural compression/pseudo-sustain of a distorted guitar.

It's really like the difference between playing piano, organ, synthesizer, etc. Each is a keyboard instrument, but the keys respond very differently and the phrasing, chord structure, and other stylistic details of note selection are unique to each instrument. Long synth pads or squelchy synth basses would not work on a piano and organ pieces requiring like four different voices (foot pedals and all) would not work on a piano and piano chords with sustained notes would sound messy on most polysynths and would obviously not working on a monosynth.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#10
You're only going to have chops on the instrument you practice with. If you were just switching from a Fender to a Gibson, it wouldn't make much difference, but acoustic and electric feel very different and it takes time to get used to one or the other.

If you want to keep up your chops, you just have to use both instruments with some regularity.
#11
I like to think of comparing acoustics to electrics like comparing a violin to cello. They're incredibly similar at a fundamental level, but everything else about them is entirely different. Just because you can comfortably and competently play one, doesn't mean you can on the other as well. However, one can have an impact on your ability to play certain things on the other. Still, the both take a lot of practice, and practicing on one is not enough if you want to be comfortable with both.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#12
Quote by anthonymarisc
So I'm usually strictly an electric player unless I get bored and decide to give my acoustic some love. However, I recently sent out my current electric to be repaired by Epiphone and I have a new electric guitar that may not be here until next week. Since I almost never play my steel string acoustic (Fender DG-8S) I didn't really realize how different it would be doing chops exercises. There's a certain... I don't know what you would call it "Stiffness?" to the strings that an electric doesn't have. I did an alternate picking and sweep picking exercise on it and the strings are noticeably more rigid and even require more force to fret. Will this be good for my chops as a whole? I assume after I get one of my two electrics back playing them will be as smooth as butter since I have to deal with just using my acoustic for the next few days.

Disregard if you use heavy gauge strings on your electrics. Lol

Everything is noticeably more difficult. Bends, Vibrato, Alternate Picking, Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, ETC.
You can build up hand strength with an acoustic, that's for sure.

how the guitar is setup makes a huge difference, but even at that, the string tension between the two instruments is world's apart.

A standard electric set, (.010 to .046), have a bit over 100 Lbs. of tension.

An acoustic "light" string set, (.012 to .053), has 165 Lbs. of tension. So, the extra effort required to fret a string does slow you down. If you want to make that 6 string flat top seem easy, pick up a 12 string....

The most often used winding material for acoustic strings, phosphor bronze, is pretty stiff also, and doesn't bend or fret well.

You can't drop the strings as low on an acoustic as you can on an electric either. The acoustic requires more string tension so as to transfer the necessary energy into the top for volume.

In fact, some bluegrass players use heavier strings, and raise the actions. This so you can pound the crap out of the guitar and keep up with the racket those damned banjos make.....

Since you're not as familiar with the instrument as you should (?) be, you could always take it to the shop, or even another acoustic player, and let them try it.

What they could possibly tell you is to either, "get it set up, or "time to man up", or maybe a bit of both.

You figure a full note bend on an acoustic .012 e-1 is a lot more of a heroic effort, than the same bend on a set of 10's....

In any case, it's never going to play as fast or easily as a decent electric.

Maybe it might be time to dust off those cowboy chords, work on some strumming patterns and practice a bit on your singing...

EDIT: One thing to the upside about practicing on an acoustic, I think you'll find that barre chords and bends will be a lot easier when you transition back to the electric.

One big bummer about the acoustic though is, even with a cutaway, the form for playing above the 12th fret is so dramatically different from an electric, you won't get any benefit toward your high register technique.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 23, 2016,