What are the factors that make one guitar easier to play than another? I play guitar and I've noticed that some guitars are just easier to play.
The pick seems to glide through the strings more fluidly and it seems to make a nice sound without much effort on some guitars, but on others it is hard to strum and it just sounds bad. My guitar is like this. I have a Gibson Epiphone and it sounds bad and I have trouble strumming on it.
When I play someone else's guitar or another guitar at a music store, I can play effortlessy.
There are other guitars that sound bad and are hard to play, but it always seems like the one that I have is hard to play. Does it have to do with the strings? Does it have to do with how the strings are mounted? I was recently playing my roommate's Schecter guitar, and the strings felt so firm, yet it was easy to play and it sounded good. I took the strings off of mine and put them on his.
So the same strings that were on my bad sounding guitar, sounded good on his. His guitar was also easier to play. The same exact strings that were on mine were used, yet his guitar was easier for me to play. I must be cursed.
Well, I have your answer. Alright, factors are:
Woods and materials – Some woods, (ussually the heavier, more expensive ones) make a guitar sound better than one with a cheaper, lighter wood. High-end guitars tend to use woods such as mahogany or rosewood, light fast guitars have basswood or maple, although cheaper poor quality guitars have plywood or agathis.
Pickups – The pickups on a guitar make up the tone by about 70 percent. There are two basic types of pickups: Humbuckers and Singlecoils. Singlecoils are thin single pickups that produce a twangy, thin tone. Guitars such as stratocasters have these. Humbuckers were invented later, and were initially made to cancel feedback and unwanted noise (hence humbucker-cancel the hum) these make a fatter, warmer sound, and are more common for metal and heavy riffs. I believe your gibson explorer has these. Some affordable guitars come with cheap pickups. You can change the pickups of a guitar and change the way it sounds completely. Good pickup manufacturers are EMG, Seymour Duncan and D'Marzzio (spelling anyone?)
Action – This is the space between the strings and the frets. Although the action determines feel and speed rather than tone, it still has something to do with the way your guitar sounds. A guitar with lower action will feel easier to play than a guitar with higher action.
Neck Thickness- Guitars with thicker necks, such as Gibsons, may be harder to play than ones with thinner necks, e. G Ibanez RG's or Fender Stratocasters. But neck thickness doesn't have much to do with sound. People with bigger hands may get tired on thin necks quickly, but think necks mean more speed, in most cases. Nuff said.
Amp settings – A good guitar through a bad amp will most likely sound bad. It's just the way it is.
Strings – You've already talked about strings, but I thought I'd give you more insight. Strings can change both the feel and the sound of a guitar. There is a huge gauge and brand range. I use Ernie Ball Super Slinkies because I'm able to play faster on thinner strings, and yet they retain a full sound. This is all down to prefference. Strings however, wear out quicker than you think. If you practice two hours every day for two weeks, your strings will already be too old. Change your strings. It may be the most annoying job in the world (not to mention expensive) but I'll guarantee you you'll play a lot better on newer strings than worn out ones.
Pickup height – I forgot about this. Your pickups have two small screws on the sides, loosening or tightening them change the height of your pickup, higher and closer to the strings gives you more tone and more crunch, although lower and closer to the body mellows it out and makes it cleaner. If you're willing to try this I suggest the following: Don't. Unless you know what you're doing, don't mess with a guitar's electronics.
But if you really really really want to, then unplug your guitar from the amp. Always disconnect it before making any changes to the electronics. Try to use a screwdriver which doesn't have a magnetised tip, for apparent reasons. Keep a phone with a luthier's number handy. Make equal turns on both sides and remember, small turns, the slightest nudge can change the tone completely. Too far or too in can kill your sound. And try to measure with a modeller's ruler before you make any changes so you know how to get back to what you were like before just incase.
Frets- Better quality guitars have better polished frets. They're a lot easier to play on. Higher frets and jumbo frets also add to feel. These frets are taller than frets like, say an acoustic guitar. This means you don't have to press so hard to get a sound out, but it also means you have to play light or you'll go out of tune. A scallopped fingerboard has the wood scooped out inbetween the frets, and it maximises this effect by quite a lot. However, it can sound really bad if you don't play light. And at the end of the day, it's not the guitar that makes the music, it's you.
Quote:Nobody can make a $10 guitar sound good, but lots of people can make pleasant music on a $1,000 guitar. This is one commodity where price does make a difference. I dissagree, a good musician can make pleasant music on a 10 dollar guitar, it just requires more effort. The good thing about music is that it doesn't have to be perfect.