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String gauge question

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Lcjones    8

Tuning down a guitar to *think* it's easier to play doesn't fix anything. Yes, there is less tension on the neck. Yes the strings are slack and probably easier to push down. Throwing a capo on to try and compensate is defeating the purpose.

The problem your going to run into is tuning. Slack strings on a guitar that needs work is going to amplify out of tune notes and become an aggravation. And attempting to keep it in tune is going to be a big negative in your quest to learn. If the guitar is that hard to play in standard 440 then the guitar needs to be set up correctly. Whether it's the nut, bridge or neck, it needs to be adjusted and fixed.

Frankly, many less expensive guitars are prone to being hard to play out of the box. Simply because they are not setup properly. A good setup including a nut & bridge adjustment will do wonders for your hands *and* ears. In some cases even these new guitars are beyond a setup and are useless.

Keep in mind, the setup and string gauge run hand in hand. Heavier gauge strings pull a lot of tension and require a different setup than lighter gauge strings.

It doesn't do any good to try and override the system.

**

LC

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karcey    42

A discussion like this one will only ever influence one group. They are the beginners, the ones who are still battling with the guitar to try to get to that elusive stage of being able to play at least simple music. This is a very large group, and unfortunately the membership of the group doesn't diminish just because the beginners move beyond, it more often diminishes because the beginners move away. For the leavers the guitar has been too hard to learn. In order to encourage those beginners to stick around, the music world has developed some shortcuts, cheats if you like. They include TAB, which takes away the need for players to read music, and, as has been mentioned above, tuning tricks to make the guitar easier to manage in the early stages. We should remember that this very topic was started by someone who found the guitar strings too hard and gave up for six years. Thankfully she's come back to try again.

I doubt the industry will ever produce slack string guitars. The instrument that has made its mark in the world with a distinct, clear sound isn't about to be modified. I also doubt that the accomplished players amongst us, the beyonds, will be downtuning and capoing, because they don't need to. But if we want to keep the beginners, we have to be prepared to offer them whatever shortcuts we can, to get them through that stage where so many fail. The ones who capo and play up the board will soon enough be able to stretch their hands to span the wider frets. In the meantime they are learning and consolidating their interest. Same with the ones who have yet to toughen their fingers. It doesn't come easy, but if slightly looser strings help, then I'm in favour. I suppose it's a bit like letting kids have trainer wheels on their bikes. It's not the best method, but millions have benefited from it.

I urge the beginners who think they're having problems, to find whatever trick they can to enable them to continue. Call it a crutch or a cheat if you will. Sooner or later they won't need it. Sooner or later their own success will provide the momentum for them to continue. By the time they come to record their songs, the cheats, crutches and tricks will have been left far behind, and their guitars will sound like they should with nice tight strings.

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starsailor    20

Hi Aurora, I gave up when I was a child because I had a guitar with an action you could drive a truck through and it just demoralised me, I have a Yamaha now which was reasonably low but it's been lowered even more so it's easy to fret and this solved my fretting problems, your guitar is a Dreadnought I think, so quite big, mine is too but it's fairly easy to handle. I've recently got an electric and I'm using that to practice scales, electrics seem easier to fret than acoustics, take a much lighter touch, scales take you up and down the fretboard and seem to be a good way to improve finger strength and positioning as you gradually bring all your fingers into play, the main problem for beginners does seem to be fretting the chord shapes probably because our fingers just aren't used to doing that much work so need exercise, you can build the shapes up gradually though, if you fret one string, then two then three etc. and make sure you get a clear sound with each string, it just takes a lot of practice to get the hang of it we need to get those fingers working and coordinated and focus on getting a clear sound from the strings, use different amounts of pressure to see what it actually takes to get a string ringing clearly, hope you have a lot of fun with your new guitar, I love my Yamaha.

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romi1212    4

i have got a walden which i use regularly

its very heavy but the tone quality is really awesome

i have also played yamaha they are real pleasure to play

i came across some guitars of OAK wood its jumbo body was very light u could lift that guitar(i am talking about jumbo body ) with your thumb and index finger and please mind if u want to play with ease and comfort that thats the best thing i would suggest

even with a gauge of 13 strings they never get high actioned has anyone else had used this OAK wood guitar

http://www.oakwoodinstruments.co.uk/four/guitars/guitar.htm

its the best stuff for kids and beginners

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Stu74    35

wow this is quite a discussion.Which is great. :clap:

Gasbag and Karcey i dont mind being told im wrong as i said yesterday about my opinion on this "I am probably wrong "

Like phgtrspider says i will have to try it to find out .I am with LC on his one i think putting a capo will just defeat the whole idea of tuning down.

I understand the frets are closer together the further away from the nut you play but that is the only difference i can see.Its all a lot for my pee brain to understand.

So i am off to tune my guitar down a step and dig out a capo from upstairs and give it a go.

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aurora    1

Hey, I'm back! I went out of town this weekend so didn't have a chance to try tuning down a step until today. In short, I was unsuccessful; it just sounded off, which of course it would be until I put the capo on, but I don't have a capo at the moment.

I'm watching for the UPS man with my new guitar and all sorts of other goodies that came with the bundle, so I could try it then, but I'm hoping that it will be a moot point because the new guitar will be easier to play. Also, I just remembered that although we don't have a music store in the vicinity, there is a guy in town who makes guitars, so I'm thinking he would be able to set mine up if I brought it to him.

Either way, I will see how the new one is and go from there. Hey - he's pulling in right now! I'll be back later :)

And thanks for the discussion; I've learned a lot!

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aurora    1

Yeehaw! I'm thrilled to report that this guitar is AWESOME, and the difference in ease of playing it, even as is, is HUGE. I had been working on the intro to a song on the old guitar but was never able to get past the first chord because I literally was not able to press hard enough for the strings to ring clearly. With the new one, I was able to do all three of the intro chords clearly within 5 minutes.

I am now a firm believer in not starting out on a too-cheap guitar. It was basically wasted money and time. If I'd gotten the Yamaha at the start, I might be pretty proficient by now.

The strings seem to be the same gauge as the ones on the old guitar, but the action is significantly lower right off the bat. I even ordered some 10s in case these 12s were too heavy, but I'm not sure I'll need them now because I've been practicing for half an hour and I'm still not hurting too bad to continue.

So it's onward and upward! This is very exciting. I finally feel like maybe I can really do this.

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GotDeeBlues    3

Your Yamaha FG700 is a full size dreadnaught, and a great guitar. There are 2 or 3 in our family, and none have ever collected dust to say the least. Congrats on the buy and enjoy.

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eddiez152    129

We all started out on something either given to us or something we can afford and tried to make the best of it. Nobody here can nock that.

Eventually we will experience what a better instrument feels like and we will understand what others were saying all along. In short, it all starts out with a good setup on most any guitar. The tone comes with experience and the quality.

Congrats, and Enjoy your new guitar.

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aurora    1

Just wanted to post a quick update. I've been practicing consistently for about half an hour a day, relearning the chords and trying to get better at changing from one to another. I have a Fender DVD that I like. I'm finding C to be one of the most difficult so far, even more than the G for some reason.

Anyway, I think these 12s will be okay. I got the Rock-Tips and it helps, although the calluses were definitely building even before the stuff came. I wanted to thank you guys again for all the help.

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