#1
So I primarily use an Epiphone Les Paul Special, and it's a little small for my chubby fingers, but it's what I can afford until I'm old enough to get a job. But it's been doing this thing that I can hear clearly when I play acoustically where whenever I fret a note, the distance from behind the fret to the nut rings out. (i.e. I fret 12th fret G the sound from where I placed my finger to the nut reverberates acoustically.) Now I don't hear it when I plug in on the amp, but I was wondering, is my action too high, am I doing something wrong or is this supposed to happen? Thanks for any help you can provide.
#2
It's a bit difficult to understand what the problem is, so your saying you can hear the string from the neck end of things? That's a bit odd. I mean more because there's nothing that should causing them to vibrate beyond where you fret the guitar. If your nut is not cut deep enough perhaps that could cause an issue.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#3
If understand what you're saying, that's overtones. It usually happens when playing slide, if you don't mute the strings behind the slide bar.

I've never seen that happen with an electric, or acoustic actually, if it's not noticeable wen playing through an amp, don't worry about it. If it sounds through an amp, that's odd.

This is not an indication the action is too high, if your fingers are comfortable playing it, the action is ok. Typically I set my action so the bottom of the 6th string is about 1/8 inch above the 12th fret, which is a bit on the high side, so I can play slide too. If yours is no higher than that, it should be fine. Many people like their action a little lower, I'm very comfortable with mine at that height, but I've been playing set that way for 40 years.

The only time your action is too high is if it's hard to play, you're pulling strings out of tune, or you think you have to put too much pressure on the strings to get a solid note. If it's not uncomfortable, it's fine.

Chubby fingers shouldn't be a problem, it may take some practice to get the hang of it, but look at Warren Haynes' fingers, Leslie West in the 70's, Roy Clark as he got older, those are the only ones I can think of offhand. Those guys are monster players, especially Roy Clark.

Watch these chubby fingers...

Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#4
I have XXL hands, and I've found that I do MUCH better with most guitars if the action is very low. That way the strings on either side of the one I *want* to control aren't going to meet my big old fingers. Things stay clear and no one attacks with nukes. In order to GET the action very low, you need to 1) have level frets and 2) have the nut cut properly for low action and 3) know how to set up your guitar correctly. Or have someone who can.

At that point, you have no excuse; it's all just a matter of developing the techniques to sneak whatever bit of finger will do the job (and ONLY that bit of finger) just behind the fret and do so just enough to fret the note.

As for hearing other parts of the string; you'll find that there are potentially three areas other than the one you're concentrating on, that will ring out with some other sound. The one you hear most, of course, is the string area between where your finger is fretting the note and the nut. You'll also just barely hear some high-pitched overtones between the nut and the tuner and some others between the bridge and the tailpiece.
The way to keep the string between the fret and the nut from ringing involves a bit of technique. One, never press the string down to the fretboard. Ever. Two, press the string to the fret using the area *just* behind the fret, not directly on the fret and not in the middle of the fretboard between the two frets. If you pull the note all the way down to the fretboard, you throw the note sharp and, when you allow the string to contact either the fretboard or the fret behind the one you want, you set up a situation where the note may ring out. One other thing; it's an electric. If you're playing it acoustically, chances are you're strumming/picking too hard. If you play with headphones, you want to learn to pick far more lightly than you do an acoustic. As my guitar teacher used to drill into me, "It's an electric. Let the guitar's pickups do the work!"

This really isn't much of a problem on an electric except when you're playing it acoustically. The pickups are way down by the bridge and they'll ignore anything ringing away up by the nut.
#5
This video has some good close ups of a younger Roy Clark, you can see the fingers a lot better, and his fingers are probably twice the size of mine. I Can't play like this...

Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#6
dementiacaptain That is possible, since I use 10-52s and the nut is probably made for standard 10s if not 9s. Is it possible that because I fret a little hard that the high action causes notes to ring out that way?
#7
dspellman I see, thanks, I try not to blame stuff on my instrument too often because it leads to me being a lazy player in my opinion but I appreciate the tips and insight very much!
#8
Paleo Pete He's got bigger hands than me for sure, but he's definitely better than I could ever dream of being.
#9
Quote by Paleo Pete
If understand what you're saying, that's overtones. It usually happens when playing slide, if you don't mute the strings behind the slide bar.

I've never seen that happen with an electric, or acoustic actually, if it's not noticeable wen playing through an amp, don't worry about it. If it sounds through an amp, that's odd.

This is not an indication the action is too high, if your fingers are comfortable playing it, the action is ok. Typically I set my action so the bottom of the 6th string is about 1/8 inch above the 12th fret, which is a bit on the high side, so I can play slide too. If yours is no higher than that, it should be fine. Many people like their action a little lower, I'm very comfortable with mine at that height, but I've been playing set that way for 40 years.

The only time your action is too high is if it's hard to play, you're pulling strings out of tune, or you think you have to put too much pressure on the strings to get a solid note. If it's not uncomfortable, it's fine.

Chubby fingers shouldn't be a problem, it may take some practice to get the hang of it, but look at Warren Haynes' fingers, Leslie West in the 70's, Roy Clark as he got older, those are the only ones I can think of offhand. Those guys are monster players, especially Roy Clark.

Watch these chubby fingers...



Roy is amazing I remember listening to my dad's Roy Clark and Chet Atkins albums when I was a kid in the 70s
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Last edited by Evilnine at Sep 1, 2016,
#10
Quote by knoxsw
dementiacaptain That is possible, since I use 10-52s and the nut is probably made for standard 10s if not 9s. Is it possible that because I fret a little hard that the high action causes notes to ring out that way?


I suppose, though other guys here seem to know more than I do about this phenomena. I have never really heard of the strings ringing above the fretted note previously. In any case if you can still play comfortably and the sound is good with an amp, I wouldn't sweat it.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.