The Woodshed

Do you have a guitar that you use as a “batting weight”?

1

In other words, a guitar that is harder to play than your others, but you use it to warm up with before a gig, so when you play your normal guitar it feels like you can rip through the notes with ease? I have a Telecaster that for the life of me, I cannot set it up to play easily. But after playing it for an hour or so, my Gretsch Pro Jet or my Heritage H-140 feel like the easiest guitars in the universe. There was a band that played where I used to live, and before their set, the guitarist would sit there at a table with a classical guitar, running through scales. Then on stage he'd pick up an electric and just rip everybody's face off.

2

those would be the acoustics, and the Alvarez jumbo 12-string in particular. as far as electrics go, i set them up with a bit higher action than some folks; my combination of heavy right hand + .009s can lead to a lot of buzzing if you lower it too much. i can't really think of one that's more of a bear than the others except the project guitar i built from old Japanese parts on eBay, and that one is sortable. i suppose the 25.5" Fender-oids are a bit stiffer.

3

It seems like a plausible idea. I hadn't thought of running through and warming up before a show. My first couple of songs are my warm up.

4

No, but my Martin Backpacker doubles as a good emergency canoe paddle.

6

It's an interesting idea, I hadn't thought of doing that. It makes sense, we all know that going from an acoustic to an electric guitar, makes the electric guitar feel so delicate and easy to play. I don't have an electric guitar that is 'difficult' to play, but I do have some strung with 10' s and some strung with 9's. So I guess if I'm going to be using a guitar with 9's, on a gig, warming up with 10's would do the same sort of trick. Good idea, stratman, thanks!

PS : There's been an awful lot of spam on the GDP lately, more than I've seen before. I'm not sure anything can be done about keeping them from initially being posted, but I'd personally rather have them deleted, by the moderator, rather than collapsed.

7

I have Gretsch Rancher with an .011 string set and I replaced the 3rd string with a plain .022 (not wound). It's great for warming up.

8

I don't have any guitars that are hard to play. Have you tried shimming the neck pocket on your Telecaster?

9

I've used the old Mel Bay "Hitting on All Six" exercise as a warm up for as long as I can remember. After a few passes, I move on to other patterns, but "All Six" is my go-to.

As to which guitar- Almost always the first guitar I'm going to use in whatever show is up.

10

I have a beautiful Alvarez-Yari classical guitar that, while the action is standard for this guitar, makes all my electrics feel like butter under my hands, after I've warmed up on the nylon strings.

11

Some guys would play acoustic with heavy strings and then when the gig came they were just blaze. Some guys would warm up with a Fender with that big heel, thin sound, etc. and then when they played a more slick thing like a cutaway, no-heel SG there was just less fighting back

12

I've never found a guitar that wasn't hard to play.

Oh, wait.

13

I don't have any that are difficult to play because set-up issues, but I often practice on a non-vibrato guitar in order to focus on fretting, string balance, touch, and every aspect of a tune or style other than vibrato, and then use a vibrato-equipped guitar in live performance. That way, a lot of things are nailed down prior to hitting the stage, but there's one exciting, spontaneous new variable on tap (in addition to player interaction, of course), and it tends to be applied only when needed and not to cover up deficiencies in other aspects of my playing.

I guess it's worth noting that the non-vibrato guitar is pretty much always a Hahn 228 Telecaster-style guitar with a massive neck and Lollar 52 single-coil pickups. It's not anyone's idea of "hard to play; " it's one of only two guitars that I use .010 gauge strings on. My live guitars tend to have .011 rounds or .012-.013 Thomastik flats. Nonetheless, the old saw that you can't tell lies on a Telecaster seems to apply. I have a feeling that a lot of guitarists use Teles in rehearsal to develop discipline and control, and then use an "easier" guitar in live performance. Live, I favor Gretsches, Bigsby Teles, and sometimes a Jazzmaster.

Sometimes I turn off the reverb on my amp for the same reason, but I usually tire of it quickly. Reverb seems to be a crutch I actually need.


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