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Hiya everyone

 

I bought my beautiful Bird in December and was super excited about it. However, I can't seem to bond with it. :(

 

I think the reason is because my fingers hurt a hell of lot when playing it. I have been playing my Yamaha for over 2 years and have built up callouses, however every time I play my bird it hurts A LOT and I have to really push down very hard to let it ring out true. And so then callouses seem to go softer (not exactly sure why) and I end up going back to my Yamaha to build them up again, give my fingers a little break and its sort of a vicious circle.

 

The guy at the shop changed the strings when I bought it to the Elixir Bronze 012-053.

 

Is this normal to feel like this? or is it just me? Want to bond with my bird but its lying sadly in its box. HELP!!!

 

Ps. Someone mentioned a setup, think it was Jinder, should I try to do that?

 

Pammie

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Yes, I agree that a set-up is what you need. A properly set-up acoustic can play like butter. It sounds like the strings are too high at the nut.

Find a competant repair facility and have it done (may not be from the shop in which you purchased the guitar) <_< I think you and the bird should bond after that [thumbup]

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Could also be the Elixirs, I'm allergic to them, I've tried them a couple of times and end up with Chernobyl fingers afterwards to the point I can't play guitar at all till they heal, as such I won't even play a few chords on a guitar that has Elixirs on it now.

 

Try some other strings first, if the same feeling is there you should have a setup done to get the guitar into the best playable condition for you.

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Two things, get a set up definitely as it clearly sounds the action is too high. The Bird being short scale should have lower tension and be a dream to play.

 

Secondly, get rid of the Elixirs, they are slippery and difficult to manage. I suggest DR Sunbeams as they are easy to grip and also have a lower tension than normal strings.

 

Cobmined with a set up which should lower the action and the Sunbeams I think you will look at your Bird in a different way.

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I agree on both the strings & even more so the setup. Also, if you put a nice, flat straight edge down the neck, on the frets, does it have a gap between the frets & the staight edge in the middle of the neck? I have a lot of trouble with playing, esp. baring if the relief is very much. You've just got to learn to setup the neck relief as it changes all the time even when you control the climate/humidity well.

 

For me, anyway, I've never had a guitar that was setup from the factory or by a dealer that was working to my fingers & playing style. Not to say there are NO dealers that have techs that can set things up well. I've just never had one that was better than I could do myself. If I really want it playing well I take to a luthier, pay $60 and get it playing great. After you pay close to $3000 for a Bird $60-$100 to get it playing fantastic is well worth it. I won't go into my thinking that it should ALREADY play fantastic after paying $2000-$3000 for a guitar. I know everyone needs a different setup for what & how they want to play. But at least the nut height & intonation should be right. [cursing]

 

With all the health care people developing allergies to "latex gloves" I can see an allergy to the coatings on the strings too. Some of the crap that is used, even to coat the inside of the canned food cans that we eat out of, is really deadly or at least nasty stuff.

 

Aster

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Welcome back Pam. It definitely sounds like you need a setup. It will be well worth the $ and effort. If you also played elixirs on your yamaha then that might be what you prefer. But different guitars sometimes prefer different strings to bring out the desired tone we want to hear. I would suggest either John Pearse or Daddario strings. I only favor elixirs on Taylor Guitars. IF you want that classic GIBSON ACOUSTIC TONE, you want to go with a string that gives you that same vibe.

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I fall in and out of love with Elixers. Usually low on love when I'm low on money... [rolleyes] All in all the Elixer Nanoweb PBs and John Pearce PBs are my faves.

 

Gotta agree a good setup and the right strings make all the difference in the world. When I get a new (to me) guitar, the first thing I do is take it to my luthier for his thoughts, advice, and expertise. He knows my specs and sets it up accordingly. Problem is he's very good, thus in demand, and I usually haver to wait a couple of weeks to get the guitar back. In each case, it has been worth the wait.

 

Good luck with the 'bird'. I'd love to add one to the corral one day...

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I've never been a fan of elixirs myself. I have a set of DR Rare light gauges on my J-185 EC right now and they seem to be working pretty well. I also tried the standard Gibson strings and really like the tone and feel quite a bit. I have always been a huge fan of Martin strings as well. I recently tried a set of the SP Lifetimes with Cleartone coating and was initially impressed. However, I broke a string within a week so I didn't get much time to evaluate.

 

I also agree with others that a good setup is key. It shouldn't cost a lot and you'd be amazed at the difference it can make.

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I love elixers. I have two birds both with 12s, both with elixers. One has real low action and one has medium action, both are sweethearts to play. Also I have a fairly weak left hand due to back problems, but I have no problems playing the birds all night unless we are doing alot of barre chords, but I still manage.

 

To echo the other posters you need a set up and maybe go to a smaller guage set of srings.

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Don't forget IF you take it to have it set up and/or the strings changed, to let the guy know your issues with finger pain and callouses.

 

Eventually, and maybe soon, you should have built up your callouses to a point that it is no longer an issue and there is no pain at all. MOST who set up such a fine guitar choose strings and action settings with regard to tone first, and no thought of finger callouses. And they certainly aren't set up to favor finger pain from the factory.

 

There is no reason that the Bird could not be made to be at least as easy on the fingers as your Yamaha, but you must have it set up with that in mind if that is your goal.

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The H-Bird has one of the smoothest necks/boards out there. You shouldn't have this problem - Go and see a doctor fast.

 

Got to admit I'm allergic to the sound and feel of Elixirs. Have a few sets lying around and decided to boil some '11-'52's (to wash off some of the coating) and put them on the Bird last weekend – just for the experiment. They stayed on for under three minutes before I switched back to Martins. Not the Flex Core just taken off (ran out of those), but some Ph. B. Darco, which I don't know. Flex Core seems to be preferable.

 

The Elixirs totally alienated me from the instrument – Preferences are unfathomable.

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I've got a 2010 j45 and found the action high straight from the crate. I took about 1 - 1.5mm off the saddle over time 'till it felt great. I too was addicted to elixirs on all my guitars. I tried 11's on the j45 but they were too weak. I tried d'addarrio exp 12 gauge and have never looked back. I'm addicted to the sound and feel of this guitar. It's wiped down after every play and given the occasional polish and it's maturing beautifully. Another set of great strings are the new martin lifespans. I have these on my d28 and will probably never change. You gave an amazing piece of craftsmanship and it can be frustrating at first but within a year or so you will have concluded all your experiments and probably never look back.

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Yes, I agree that a set-up is what you need. A properly set-up acoustic can play like butter. It sounds like the strings are too high at the nut.

Find a competant repair facility and have it done (may not be from the shop in which you purchased the guitar) dry.gif I think you and the bird should bond after that [thumbup]

 

 

Some very good advice in this thread, but I would like to add a note of caution.

 

 

The luthier I go to costs 3 times as much as a previous comment, but I have never had to return for a problem like I have with other 'repairers'. I just bought another old Gibson and the first stop when I have tried it out enough will be my 'Man'. Previously I have rang him before a guitar purchase to make sure he is still working - he is crucial to my schemes!

 

So, read some internet forums about Luthiers etc in your area to try and find a TOP one - ring around- ask the people on this forum for some names - don't rush it.

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Thank you so much for all your sound advice everyone.

 

I decided to track down one of the best luthiers (Bill Puplett) in london and after a lot of searching got his number. After trying to ring him and his phone being constantly engaged I finally got hold of him and I am to see him in 4 weeks time [rolleyes] He only lives 20 mins away from me!

 

Love the tone/sound of my guitar and still not sure which strings to go for as everyone has their own preferences but I defo think I need to go for lighter ones.

 

Anyway looking back it now seems like the obvious answer now and can't wait to get my bird seen to, so we can live, sing and be happy together in harmony....

 

Bye for now and thanks again [biggrin]

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I decided to track down one of the best luthiers (Bill Puplett) in london and after a lot of searching got his number. After trying to ring him and his phone being constantly engaged I finally got hold of him and I am to see him in 4 weeks time [rolleyes] He only lives 20 mins away from me!

 

Man, that sounds almost as bad a wait time as England has for Health Care & a Dr. visit!!! I complain when I have to wait 45 mins with a walk in appt. at the Dr's. Oops, can I say that? [scared] I know I have to wait for 3-5 days at the Luthiers. :rolleyes:

 

Sounds like that fellow may be a good one. Get that bird to playing nice for you & enjoy. [thumbup]

 

Aster

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The only thing I would add to the sound advice from this thread is to use a capo around the 3rd fret for the time you are waiting. This will work like a 'fake setup' in that it will lower the string height and make playing easier.

 

Of course that means you won't be playing down near the nut for the time being but the action will be lower and a lot more comfortable until you get the setup done.

 

Ditto on changing the strings too. You may find that with the capo fix a lighter guage isn't necessary though, especially if you tune down a semi-tone as well. The lower string tension and using the capo should make things more than playable before your luthier gets a look at it.

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