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Thread: Need a small bottom

  1. #1
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    Default Need a small bottom

    Bummers! The osteoarthritis in my right shoulder has gotten worse so I can no longer play a guitar with a large lower bout -- not even the Taylor GS-Mini (sigh). So I must switch from acoustic electric to electric since "size doesn't matter" with an electric, right?

    So I request your guidance concerning brand/model info for a small-lower-bout electric guitar that will sound & play pretty good for under $400.

    Aloha from Hawaii & thanks for any help you can give me -- I am a total doofus when it comes to knowing anything about electrics.

  2. #2
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    Not sure of the weight of a GS-Mini (looked on several sites but do not see this spec anywhere) but even the Squier Strat Mini (23" scale) or the Epiphone Les Paul Express (22" scale) are likely to be heavier or the same weight at ~6-8 lbs...

    You might want to look into 'parlor' guitars which have a much narrower body in both the upper and lower bought, maybe something like the series that Ibanez has here: http://www.ibanez.com/products/u_ag_...=33&color=CL01



    there's also several other makers like Recording King's 'dirty 30s' model, the Gretsch 'Jim Dandy' model, as well as the Art & Lutherie 'AMI' (amm-ee) models that I know of in a similar price range and body size...

    and if those are still too large/heavy, than maybe extreme measures are needed and worth looking at the Washburn 'Rover' or Martin 'Backpacker' travel guitars, but these bodies are sized almost like concert ukes and suffer greatly on sustain and the resonance of most notes lower than C4, so not going to have as much bass nor volume as the GS-Mini...
    Please click here ->Just the FAQs<- to be taken to the FAQ index so you can learn about:
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Booli! I will research the instruments you mentioned.

    By the way, it's not so much the instrument's weight that hurts me (I play seated, with the instrument on my thigh) but rather the size of the bout. I *think* that my physical problems (intense shoulder/neck muscle aches & headaches) are mainly caused by having to reach over the bout. I am guessing & hoping that a guitar with no bout, or a really small bout, would solve my problems. That's why I might need a solid body full-on electric -- because reducing the dimensions on an acoustic would impair sound (timbre, bass, sustain, etc), right?

    I heard somewhere that, as regards a full-on electric guitar, such things as tone, resonance, sustain, etc. are determined primarily or solely by the electronics in the guitar & amp. Did I hear correctly? If so, then the size & shape of an electric's body should not be that important (I hope).

    I'm honestly grasping at straws in this thread because I do lots of songs in Mexican ranchera style, & they don't sound good on a uke (at least, not when played by me) but they are good on a guitar. I would be so sad if I had to give up on ranchera/guitar playing.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    ...

    By the way, it's not so much the instrument's weight that hurts me (I play seated, with the instrument on my thigh) but rather the size of the bout. I *think* that my physical problems (intense shoulder/neck muscle aches & headaches) are mainly caused by having to reach over the bout. I am guessing & hoping that a guitar with no bout, or a really small bout, would solve my problems. That's why I might need a solid body full-on electric -- because reducing the dimensions on an acoustic would impair sound (timbre, bass, sustain, etc), right?
    aye, but maybe also changing how you hold the guitar, instead of having the waist across your thigh in 'cowboy' style, maybe if you hold and play like a classical guitar, like in the photos below (it does not cost you anything to try it for a few sessions):



    taken from this page: https://www.classicalguitarshed.com/...hold-a-guitar/ which has more detailed instructions, which pertain to the classical guitar style of holding and playing.

    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    I heard somewhere that, as regards a full-on electric guitar, such things as tone, resonance, sustain, etc. are determined primarily or solely by the electronics in the guitar & amp. Did I hear correctly? If so, then the size & shape of an electric's body should not be that important (I hope).
    YES, IMHO, the quality of the strings (with higher magnetic metal content, such as NICKEL), the quality and impedance/output of the magnetic pickups, the wiring, etc INSIDE the electric guitar has more of an effect than what wood it's made of, but some purists will tell you that 'OMG, but the tonewood...' however, to me, the exotic woods on a solid-body, steel-string electric guitar is more cosmetic than anything else, and good strings/pickups/etc make more difference than the 'OMG tonewoods' and can make a guitar build from poplar or fir still sound great.

    Amps, pedals etc, also need to be above a certain baseline quality, otherwise they have a lot of 'self-noise' that can manifest as 'hiss' from the electronics themselves as cheaper brands tend to omit important things such as filtering capacitors or biasing capacitors from the circuit design to save $0.08 per assembled device (mostly these are Chinese brands or Chinese-made cheapo units).

    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    I'm honestly grasping at straws in this thread because I do lots of songs in Mexican ranchera style, & they don't sound good on a uke (at least, not when played by me) but they are good on a guitar. I would be so sad if I had to give up on ranchera/guitar playing.
    I see no reason why you have to give up anything.

    There are lots and lots of different styles, sizes and shapes of guitars, and MANY more options than ANYTHING in the ukulele or mandolin realm for guitar.

    I am sure you can find something that helps, it may take some trial and error and a bit of patience, but I would not accept describing this as a hopeless quest, and instead rather as either an adaptation to your existing instrument (as per the photos/link above or similar), or by finding an alternate instrument that 'fits' better and does not stress your body in detrimental ways...
    Please click here ->Just the FAQs<- to be taken to the FAQ index so you can learn about:
    - Magic Fluke Company ukes
    - Pickups, Preamps and Impedance Mismatch
    - Home Recording and Mics
    - String Upgrades
    - iPad Microphones
    - Wolfelele Uke Kit
    - How to string a Baritone uke as a piccolo bass
    - Strings I used for GDAE and CGDA fifths tunings

  5. #5
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    Oi vey - the guy in the picture is right handed but he has the guitar, picture #2, on his left thigh! I tried it. Felt really odd, like the first time I drove in Japan, which is left-road-sided, with a Buick, which has the wheel set for right-road-sided. Weird to the nth for first few days.

    Thanks for the excellent tech advice, Booli-sensei. After Christmas I will go to Easy Music Ctr to try out various guitars. Electrics are, for me, swimming in strange waters. FUN!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    Oi vey - the guy in the picture is right handed but he has the guitar, picture #2, on his left thigh! I tried it. Felt really odd, like the first time I drove in Japan, which is left-road-sided, with a Buick, which has the wheel set for right-road-sided. Weird to the nth for first few days.

    Thanks for the excellent tech advice, Booli-sensei. After Christmas I will go to Easy Music Ctr to try out various guitars. Electrics are, for me, swimming in strange waters. FUN!
    That's the 'normal' posture/position for classical guitar. Yes, very different from steel string acoustic guitar, but the neck-up posture has several ergonomic advantages as per the detailed explanations on that page (yes, please read it).

    The main thing is with the neck up and body down in this posture, as opposed to the neck and body being basically horizontal and perpendicular to your body, is that there is much less stress put on you shoulders, elbows and wrists for BOTH hands.

    Of course, if you have never played this way before, it's going to feel weird, but I strongly suggest you keep at it and not give up right away as it will definitely take some adjustment (both mentally and physically) in order to be able to see if it helps your shoulder problems.

    ALSO - using a strap is a great way to HOLD the position with the neck up, but ONLY if you tie the strap at the headstock behind the nut, instead of buying one of the guitar supports (left pic above) or foot-rest (right pic above) in order to get a fulcrum on your left thigh.

    You can ALSO balance the butt-end of the guitar on your RIGHT thigh (not like the photos), but with the neck UP (like in the photos), and using a strap to hold the head up, you dont have to worry about supporting it with your hand.

    Yes, good idea - go try out lots of guitars, even ones that seem too small, you might be surprised. For electrics, try the Squier Strat Mini and the Epiphone Les Paul Express (FYI hard to find the 'express' model in most shops as it sells so cheaply for ~$129 and there's likely not a lot of profit on it for the shop at that low price). Guitar Center (yes, the hated place) has both of these online and can ship to a retail store and if you dont like it, you can do a return 'in-store' which should be relatively painless, but I dont know if there is a Guitar Center in Oahu?

    I am happy to help, anytime, and hopefully I have offered some suggestions that can provide some guidance or focus.
    Please click here ->Just the FAQs<- to be taken to the FAQ index so you can learn about:
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    - Home Recording and Mics
    - String Upgrades
    - iPad Microphones
    - Wolfelele Uke Kit
    - How to string a Baritone uke as a piccolo bass
    - Strings I used for GDAE and CGDA fifths tunings

  7. #7

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    Yes, electric guitars sound very different from acoustics. However, I suggest taking a look at the Yamaha Silent Guitars. They're electrics, but sound very much like acoustics.

    https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...ies/index.html

    Another option might be a used Gibson Chet Atkins model, it's a classical electric but very thin. Or a Gibson ES-335 or Epiphone dot, which are semi-hollow body electrics. Easy Music Center would have a good selection of guitars for you.

    Merry Christmas!

  8. #8
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    above the price range but here's a site where the luthier makes ergonomic parlor guitars. I have one being built by him now and will be done in late January.

    http://georgethomasguitars.com/Welcome.html

  9. #9
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    Another suggestion for an acoustic option: Pono makes the smallest parlor guitar on the market, inspired by the Martin Size 5 Terz guitars of the past. The lower bout is only 11" wide, with a scale length of 21". The model name is Pono UL, followed by a number to indicate the woods. They have an end of year sale right now, with the basic model falling right within your price range. Their factory is on Oahu in Wahiawa, so you could drive up there to give it a try.

  10. #10
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    Rondo also has a 'traveler guitar' also similar to the Martin size 5 Terz series, and it's cheap ($149 and comes with a gig bag).

    This short scale acoustic guitar has the quality and materials of a professional model.
    • Solid spruce top
    • Mahogany back and sides
    • Mahogany truss rod adjustable neck
    • Rosewood neck and bridge
    • Bone nut
    • Graphtec NuBone XB saddle
    • Free padded gig bag included

    Measurements:
    • Overall length: 33 1/4"
    • Scale length: 22 4/5" (580 mm)
    • Width at lower bout: 9 1/2"
    • Width of the neck at the nut: 1 11/16"
    • Thickness of body: 2 1/2"
    • Guitar weight 3 lbs. Bag weight 1 1/2 lbs.
    • Strings: Daddario EXP16 (.012,.016,.024,.032,.042,.053


    video demo:



    more info and product page:
    http://www.rondomusic.com/trav1.html
    Please click here ->Just the FAQs<- to be taken to the FAQ index so you can learn about:
    - Magic Fluke Company ukes
    - Pickups, Preamps and Impedance Mismatch
    - Home Recording and Mics
    - String Upgrades
    - iPad Microphones
    - Wolfelele Uke Kit
    - How to string a Baritone uke as a piccolo bass
    - Strings I used for GDAE and CGDA fifths tunings

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