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Fingerstyle suitable guitar?


TimHall

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Hi there! [-X

 

My first post here. I'm getting old (55)and my hands are wearing out from playing, and someday I will need to switch to a hollow body to continue playing. I have a Taylor acoustic (914ce) I use for playing fingerstyle. No complaints the action is fine, and tone is great, but the strenth to play an accoustic is getting to be too much. Some of the solos I play are 3.5 minutes long (working on some Stephen Bennett stuff right now) and it's a struggle to keep the end of the song sounding as good as the begining due to fatigue.

 

I just counted all the notes up in the song I'm just finishing work on and there are 950 individual notes in it, and I prolly play the song 50 times before I have it learned. (It takes me between 40 to 60 hours to learn one of these things, and I need to change strings once a month because the g string (elixir polys) gives out after 50,000 'plucks.' :)

 

To come to the point I need a good hollow body electric to practice on. (Less fatigue, more practice time) Problem is it needs to have similar 'playing dimensions' as my Taylor. The nut width needs to be as close as possible to 1-3/4" and (most important) the width of the strings needs to be as close as possible to 2-3/16" at the bridge to allow room for accurate picking.

 

I was hoping one of you good hearted people could give me the low down on a suitable guitar so I could be on the down low and get giggy with a new axe! :)

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Thanks, bluelake07 Appreciated. :

 

'Cmon guys raid the workshop or that overflowing junk drawer in the kitchen, grab a ruler, and see what the string span is at the bridge please....

 

First one to reply gets a frozen turkey head mailed to them this thanksgiving!

 

(You pay shipping) [-X

 

Anyone like to recomend a nice 'woodsy' sounding Epiphone?

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Well, I would second the Casino, unless you need upper fret access?

I'm assuming (dangerous thing to do), that being an acoustic player,

mostly, you're used to limited upper fret access, now? Anyway...the

Casino does indeed have a nice hollow, and woodsy tone. P-90's are

awesome (but noisy...60 cycle hum, etc.). The Dot, Riviera, or Sheraton

would be excellent choices, from Epi, as well. But, they are quite a bit

heavier, than the Casino. The Casino is "hollow body," whereas the others

have a center block, so are considered semi-hollow bodied. Forgive me,

if you know all this, already? "Elitist" are the better versions, but even

the Korean and Chinese (especially the Quingdao made ones) are excellent,

too.

 

My Casino, is the one guitar I own, that when

other's play it, I can barely get it back, from them...LOL! They all love the

action, tone, and weight! And, it's great looking, too. ;>)

 

Hope that helps, some??

 

CB

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Oh, and by the way...."Welcome, to the forum!" Good folks, with lots of good information...

Enjoy!

 

Also, you could check out the "John Lennon" EJ160-E...it has a magnetic (P-100), and is

an acoustic, as well. The good thing, is...because it has the magnetic pickup, you can

use "electric" strings (in fact, they recommend that, if you're going to use it as an "electric.")

I have an old version (1954) of the Gibson J-160-E, and it plays as well as my Les Paul,

action and feel. So, that might be an alternative, "finger style" guitar?

 

 

CB

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FIFTY FIVE ... you're nowt but a lad. I set about the task of tackling jazz guitar at around sixty with some (very limited) experience of classical guitar, and it's true the differences between an electric archtop and something on the scale of the traditional classical guitar appear to be a handicap; but I honestly think these differences reduce with practice. The neck and string spacings seem impossibly narrow to begin with, but your fingers slowly adjust.

 

For a start they haven't much choice - most necks as has already been said are 1.68. You have to learn to love 'em. I like Epis because of their range of good quality electric archtops - from a Les Paul (which sort of counts) to the Broadway and all stops in between. Try to concentrate on the advantages and practice to overcome the problems.

 

Although I liked the tone of acoustics to begin with, electrics have a sound of their own once you begin to tame the amplification - just my opinion of course, but the tone improves (to me) as I wind that knob back. It's been liberating to find all that power with the lightest of touches. The amp takes care of the power and, as the playing becomes more relaxed because of it, my playing has improved - not that it's very good. Steel strings (which you are probably used to anyway) have a better feel/response to me now than nylon. It's true things get a bit tight up at the first fret, but that's just as true of even a classical neck - but things get easier once you begin moving up the fingerboard. Also - I have experimented with opening out the spacing on the nut. There's often a mm. or two to be gained by moving the strings out, and by giving the extra space to the second and third strings. Why stick with even spacing when it's versions of Am that give the problems. Just don't be put off by the apparent narrowness of the necks - keep going and try to make it fun, that's what I'm doing. Someone send to me a couple of years back 'you may be too old now to become a great guitar player, but you're never too old to enjoy yourself.

 

Bob

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FIFTY FIVE ... you're nowt but a lad. I set about the task of tackling jazz guitar at around sixty with some (very limited) experience of classical guitar' date=' and it's true the differences between an electric archtop and something on the scale of the traditional classical guitar appear to be a handicap; but I honestly think these differences reduce with practice. The neck and string spacings seem impossibly narrow to begin with, but your fingers slowly adjust. Bob[/quote']

 

Well I'm glad I'm just a spring chicken at 60+. Some people think that at that age, yer over the hill and they

may be right..but Charlie Byrd played nylon classical jazz most of his life, although he did play Guild electrics

occassionally. ..and look at Lester still going strong at 90+, even with arithitis. I have thick fingers, so that

is a bit of a problem at the first fret, and I agree about what you say about cutting a new nut and spreading

out the spring spacing a couple mms. On my nylon string spacing is 2.0" at the nut and a 2.3" at the bone bridge.

The Epi LP is 1.68 and 2.0" at the t-o-m. When I carved my second LP, I made the nut and the fingerboard

slightly wider at 1.81, but I'm still restricted to the standard t-o-m spacing of around 2.0.

 

Now there is some t-o-ms that may be slightly wider string spread of 2 1/16 or 2 3/32, but that isn't going

to be much different if the difference is spread between the 6 strings. The best compromise on this is the

movable archtop ebony bridge, you can sand out the notches and recut them for the strings for slightly wider than

2 1/8".The trapeze tail piece will accomodate that. The 1.68 nut can be adjusted ever so slightly, but you

can only go so far before the high e starts to ride on the the fret slope near the binding.

 

Now what's this about a smoked turkey leg?....I like those!

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I don't understand how an electric guitar will give you easier finger picking than an acoustic. I would think in most cases the nut width and string spacing would be narrower than many acoustic guitars. Unless you are looking to play electric and want max nut width as part of your criteria?

 

If money is no object then I would peruse acoustic Martins. I played a Fingerstyle 1 that I absolutely fell in love with, but the $2,800 price tag is out of my league at this time.

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I don't understand how an electric guitar will give you easier finger picking than an acoustic. I would think in most cases the nut width and string spacing would be narrower than many acoustic guitars. Unless you are looking to play electric and want max nut width as part of your criteria?

 

Most EPIs, including my Elitist Broadway seemed to have a defined nut width of 1.68, and they can still be

played acoustically. The M*rtin D-18 has an advertised nut width of 1 11/16 which is 1.68 " as well.

The nut width on a Gibby J45 /SJ200 is 1.725 or a difference of .043 inches or 1.09 mm.

 

As someone already mentioned, if you want to go through all the trouble of modification, you can make

a new nut and expand the string spacing 1 or 2 mm, but that still isn't going to address the bridge pin

spacing problem, and to attempt to install a new bridge with wider spacing on a flattop, involves a

bit of a risk to the top. It can be done with a luthiers heating iron..but it's not going to be cheap.

 

About the only way to do it cheaply is to get an archtop acoustic (with or without a floating neck p_up)

and modify the nut (if the bindings and frets allow) and sand down the string grooves on

a traditional wooden archtop bridge that you can order from a on-line store and spread out the string

spacing at the bridge as well. The archtop sound will be different from a flat-top like a J-45 is different from

a D-18 and from any other flat top out there, but you can finger pick it similar to a flat top then.

 

There is always more than one solution, but each solution involves different costs or risks.

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I always seem to have trouble with on-line forums - I'm never quite up with the discussion, and my replies ofen don't make sense even to me. Maybe I AM getting too old after all. You'll have to make allowances for me.

 

I suppose I could have asked young Tom what it was about being 55 that makes the acoustic more difficult to play - except I bought a low-end Ovation as an affordable stand-in for an acoustic archtop, and have to admit that the longer scale length, higher action etc make it - not harder exactly - but less easy to play. Playing the Epi ES175 copy is a lot easier.

 

When Tom said 'hollowbody' I assumed archtop electric of some sort - especially with the other references to the Casino - and when I decided to tackle jazz I also tried going electric for the first time. All the other players I play with are fingerstyle players, and they all seem to have to work hard at producing volume. I mean their movements are deliberate and often exaggerated to project the sound. Trying to play like *that* on a narrow fingerboard *is* more tricky; but I've found that allowing the amp to provide the volume means that the fingers don't need quite so much room to work in. That and the other mods that have been mentioned makes it seem (to me at least) that the change to a 1.68 nut isn't quite so bad as it first appears.

 

My problem is GAS - no sooner do I sort the ES175 out, than voices start telling me how much I NEED an Emperor Regent.

 

Bob

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Well, "fingerstyle" is pretty broad. Roger McGuinn could certainly be called a fingerstyle guitarist...and have

you ever tried playing a Rickenbacker 12-string?! Talk about thin, narrow necks, with almost no string spacing!!!

But, he does a remarkable job, none the less! (I won't even mention Banjo or Mandolin players) So...with that in mind, almost any guitar could/would be good for "fingerstyle" playing. If there are definite criteria, that you/TimHall have, that you MUST have, then, the best thing to do, as in most cases, is go "shopping" where you can try them ALL out. And, isn't that at least half the fun, of getting a new guitar?!

 

CB

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I fingerpick my Dot. It has a thinner neck than I am used to but I come from a classical guitar back ground. The necks tend to be wider and the strings spaced further apart on nylon string classicals, however it is not easy to find one that is quick actioned and it might be harder on your hand if you play a lot of barre cords. Mine has the advantage of being extremely light - when I first picked up my Dot I was wondering how much lead was in it!

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As far as I know, most Epiphone have a narrow nut. The exception that comes to mind is the Country Deluxe Elitist, which is 1.75".

hchet_or.jpg

It is a Chet Atkins type of guitar, so I think it is the best Epiphone electric for the task you describe. If I were a Chet style picker, I'd unload a few of my axes and buy one.

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As far as I know' date=' most Epiphone have a narrow nut. The exception that comes to mind is the Country Deluxe Elitist, which is 1.75".

It is a Chet Atkins type of guitar, so I think it is the best Epiphone electric for the task you describe. If I were a Chet style picker.[/quote']

 

The 1.68 nut has a string spread of 37 mm (1.45").

Based on that, the 1.75 nut would (probably) have a string spread of 1.53"

It solves his problem at the nut (1.75) if it's an Elitist t-o-m, it's only going to have a string

spread of 2 -1/16. The standard archtop guitar bridge can accomodate string spreads

of 1-11/16" to 2-3/16 " I think he was looking for a wide bridge similar to his Taylor.

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Thank you to all have reliied You have all helped me in some way to make a decision. I'm going to wait :-s Perhaps my left hand problems will abate with some improvement with my technique.

 

bluelake07 will get an orange rind for his troubles, and Old Bob, he will just get older, and I will always be younger than him:) Congrats Bob on your new endevors and I wish you all the best!

 

Thanks carverman for your insightfull comments. As a fingerstyle player I fing even a 1-16 difference ar the center of the soundhole maqkes a big difference. I have an Aria with a 2" spread there, and the Taylor comes to 2- 1/16" and the difference is HUGE!

 

Congrats to all of you that see the value and appreciate the beauty of the Epiphone. I'll be checking back from time to time as my decision not to purchase was based mainly of the sound of the guitar and the sound needed for the music I play. Like old (older) Bob I know life is a series of new experiences and as I continue alond the musical path, other roads to travel shall appear. Half the fun is not knowing if or when they shall bear my footsteps!

 

Thanks to all again! :) Tim

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Hello Timhall,

 

Today i got me a Aria MM10 (Maccaferri Model) acoustic guitar, made in China.

Neck width at the nut is 50mm, string spacing at the nut is 41.5mm and bridge spacing is 56.5mm.

Scale is 640mm and the neck joins the body at the 12th fret.

I use Savarez Argentine strings on it, 011-046. They also come in 010's.

I paid 240 euro's for it (new) and it's a very nice guitar to noodle around at home or jamming with friends.

It's got decent volume and is very well intonated, it also looks great.

It's not a Epiphone hollowbody but i just want to let you know about this option.

 

peter

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