Goin' for an Electric feel on an Acoustic

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by duceditor, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I've written before about the Horse 'Dreadnaught' type acoustic I'd been given my the company for testing and review a year or so ago. Indeed I'd even done a comparative vid showing it against some tough competition -- a Dreadnaught Martin and a Yairi. And how the guitar acquitted itself as, no, in no way their equal, but still pretty nice sounding and highly playable.

    Well that guitar has become my favored porch instrument. Doing well as an acoustic accompaniment for my singing.

    But, alas, where it didn't give me much pleasure is when playing alternate leads and rhythm. There its heavyish and stiff acoustic weight strings resisted my use-to-electric-ease fingers. A real shame that! -Especially since this guitar, with its nicely shaped neck and cutaway body shape, otherwise suits such playing quite well.

    Have I found the answer? My first impression, which I suspect will only improve, is yes!

    What I did was replace the guitars typical bronze 12 -52 "acoustic" strings with a set of light to medium (9 to 46) nickel over steel "electric" strings.

    Those heavier bottoms (for a light electric set) add back some of the missing bottom in comparison with a more typical 9-42 electric set. This while leaving the treble voiced strings fully playable for interchangeable 'lead' licks.

    Hey, I figure if I want true acoustic bottom and power I can always play the Martin or the Yairi. But for most of my porch playing this is going be a mighty fine setup!

    More to follow once those strings have more fully broken in and I've spent some time on her.

    -don


    Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 3.46.09 PM.png
     
  2. surf green

    surf green Squier-holic

    Jul 15, 2014
    RI
    Fine looking guitar, I recall your post when you first got the Horse. They sold fast and I haven't seen them since. Nice to know the electric string option for acoustic worked.
     
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  3. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Freedonia
    Heh... I did the opposite, I put acoustic strings on my Grote Jazz box so it would sound better unplugged (surprisingly, still sounds darn good amplified).
     
  4. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    56
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    images.jpeg Ive got one of these that I keep in the living room .Fender CC60.
    Same size as the Taylor Big Baby. Plenty of dread lowend on this guitar.
    Im primarily a blues player. Lots of bends and vibrato, hammers and pulls.
    It had 12s on it when I got it last year. Went down to 11s. Half step down. Whole step down . Nope . Just stiff.
    2 weeks ago I put the same strings I play on all my acoustics. Ernie Ball Extra Slinky 8s. 8-38 .

    Ding ding ding ;)

    We have a winner !

    Does it sound thinner ? Yes

    Does it sound bluesy and can I play it like I want for my listening pleasure. Yepp ;) . Very easy on both hands since Im a fingers playin fool yo.gif
     
  5. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    That's the ticket!!! :) :) :)

    -don
     
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  6. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Age:
    73
    Nov 29, 2010
    Indiana
    Having been primarily an acoustic player since 1957 this is one thread I will just leave alone…
     
  7. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    A further progress report...

    This morning I took the guitar out to the porch for a playing session, expecting that the strings would have been pretty well broken in and holding tune. And in that I was not disappointed,

    Tonally it was brighter than ideal -- as expected -- with a sound closer to clean electric than a dreadnaught acoustic. Also expected. Response to the pick rewarded delicacy -- again more electric than acoustic. And all of that was good.

    Not so good, however, was a not quite buzz on the E and B strings when fretted on the first thru the third fret.

    The cause of that was easy to ascertain. A very, very slight back bow on the neck -- this from the guitar now having less string tension.

    The catch, though, was that the neck adjuster had no tension on it at all, and thus the back bow could not be eased up by just a bit of relief there.

    The fix, though, was imaginative -- and effective. I simply laid the guitar on its back with the headstock elevated (carrying all the weight of the instrument), and laid something that weighed a few lbs on the strings at and below where the neck connected to the body.

    In two hours the semi-buzz was almost gone. Checked just now it was completely gone. The guitar plays perfectly!

    I'm letting it sit now just 'as is.' If the wood's memory brings it back at all I'll do the 'treatment' again, then for a bit longer, and, if needed, use the adjustment to control any residual bow. But I suspect even that will prove unnecessary.

    Would I have tried this on my Martin? Nope! But as we know here, there are certain benefits to having less expensive guitars. :)

    -don
     
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  8. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    A further update...

    Wood "memory" made the "fix" last less than an hour. So I am now letting the guitar 'rest' between playing sessions thus... That until the "new" 'memory' has locked itself in.

    Screen Shot 2021-06-08 at 10.58.55 AM.png

    That, btw, is a 3 lb weight.


    -don
     
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  9. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Well it took one full week, and a few more lbs., avoirdupois -- five to be exact -- to do it, but my porch strummer is now playing beautifully with the feel of an electric.

    The 3 lbs weight was raised to 5 three days ago and I think she is now both straight -- no buzz, pleasantly low action, and equally good "feel" and tone -- and stable.

    As I said, I'd not have tried this if my Martin or Yairi had had the same problem -- a slight back-bow with the lighter tension electric strings (But then again, I' not have pus such strings on those guitars to start with!) -- but it was a low risk "experiment" in guitar set-up that on the free-to-me Horse seemed low enough risk and that worked like a charm.

    She now suits my needs in a porch strummer perfectly!

    Yeah. Low cost or no, she'd mighty nice strummer (and, now, lead player).

    -don



    Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 8.07.13 AM.png
     
  10. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    56
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Glad you got it to stop buzzin ;)

    I was up early this morning playing mine. I sighted down the neck and its very straight. If I have an issue that cant be corrected via truss rod ,Ill just move up one size to 9s ;)
    Im enjoying this guitar more now and its a dread so it still has enough bass to not sound thin.

    I think Im gonna see how the Seymour Duncan Woody sounds with it like this. Maybe this evening after my grandbabies go home ;)
     
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  11. fuelish

    fuelish Squier-holic

    I put a set of EB Slinkys on my Epi acoustic for the same reason, worked out well.....I run 9s and mostly 10s on all my electrics - I don't play the acoustic frequently, but when I did, the original string gauge was not comfortable to play....and I like to do bends. Sounds a little different, thinner perhaps. but plays so much more comfortably....well worth the cost of a pack of strings
     
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  12. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Squier-Nut

    My solution to a similar problem was acheived with the purchase of a Taylor T5z strung with Elixer nanoweb 10's. Incredible playabilty and tone. I have no comment on the use of external weights on any part of the neck. Wouldn't a truss rod adjustment be safer, and offer more sustainable results?
     
  13. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    As in my earlier comment, the truss rod could be of no help because it was (as are most) a one-way adjustment. Designed to counter the pull of the strings. And with it having absolutely no tension the neck still had a very small back bow.

    The use of a weight was simply a means to overcome the wood's 'memory.' And it did just that.

    Obviously such is the end all to neck adjustment. A modern two-way truss rod is -- although even that will not correct for twist, just for even bow or back bow.

    In any case the 'buzz' was hardly that. Just a lack of full ringing in those few frets on the two lowest height -- the E and B -- strings. (If the saddle was height adjustable -- and it wasn't apart from a replacement or a shim -- that's all it would have taken to make things right.) And now it plays just as it should, with the neck straight to the eye -- often what I find I prefer to the commonly suggested relief curve.

    -don
     
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  14. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Supporting Member

    Don, about 45 years ago I put a set of electric guitar strings on a very cheap Sears acoustic guitar that came with nylon strings. It didn't have a truss rod, and fortunately the neck wasn't backbowed. It worked for camping trips for quite a few years, and only a couple years ago I noticed that it was coming apart. Just about every glue joint was failing, so it went into the trash can after a job well done.
     
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  15. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    56
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    One to many camping trips aye ?
     
  16. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Supporting Member

    They probably didn't help, but for the last 25 or 30 years it just sat around the house. I think it was cheap materials, cheap construction, and age that did it in.
     
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  17. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    56
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Ive got a Yamaha FG180 that my dad gave my mom in 1970. She always used nylon strings. I put some light steel strings on and it was about to come unglued. I went back to nylons on it but I dont like the way they feel. The frets are tiny and well worn .
    Its like rolling hard worms on a 2x4..lol

    I think Im gonna get some Rev. Willys 7s for it. Its a huge Dreadnaught ,so it should still sound fine.
    Plus I just like to get it out for old time sake ;)
     
  18. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Supporting Member

    I don't like to play nylon strings either, but mine came unglued everywhere. The top was even coming off! And the electric strings I had on it were light ones... like 8s.