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vialde
09-19-2008, 03:47 AM
I've been playing the uke for a little over a year now and I'm doing really well if I do say so myself. Before that I spent literally years trying to learn how to play guitar with zero success. I've since picked up the guitar again to see if I can transfer some of my uke skillz and try and redeem all those wasted years of 6 string hell. Alas I'm still not having any luck, mad guitar shredding still eludes me.

I'm starting to wonder, is it the strings? I've only ever tried, steel stringed acoustic and electric guitars. One of the things I love about the uke is how the strings feel. All silky and supple. I'm thinking about picking up a classical guitar with some nice nylon strings and giving that a whirl. Might change my guitar luck so to speak.

I guess my question/point is have any of you experience anything similar in your uke/guitar crossovers and do you think the strings are the things?

And as an aside, can a steel string acoustic guitar be strung with nylon or gut strings and remain playable?

Discuss.

Thanks,

Cary

ONYX
09-19-2008, 04:14 AM
Classiacal guitar may even be harder to play, as they tend to have a larger fretboard AFAIK

SamWise
09-19-2008, 04:46 AM
A steel string guitar restrung with nylon will sound apalling - the body and bracing need to be really different to get a good tone out of such very different string tensions. As Onyx suggests, a classical guitar will have slightly wider string spacing, and a flatter fingerboard, which may make stretching for the notes seem even harder.

Could you talk a bit more about what the specific problems are you have? You can buy a guitar which is designed to have the "feel" of a steel string (closer strings, radiused fingerboard, which is much easier for barre chords), but takes nylon strings, but until we know what makes guitar hard for you, it's hard to guess if that will help.

vialde
09-19-2008, 05:00 AM
A steel string guitar restrung with nylon will sound apalling - the body and bracing need to be really different to get a good tone out of such very different string tensions. As Onyx suggests, a classical guitar will have slightly wider string spacing, and a flatter fingerboard, which may make stretching for the notes seem even harder.

Could you talk a bit more about what the specific problems are you have? You can buy a guitar which is designed to have the "feel" of a steel string (closer strings, radiused fingerboard, which is much easier for barre chords), but takes nylon strings, but until we know what makes guitar hard for you, it's hard to guess if that will help.

SamWise, thanks for the response.

If anything I've always felt that the finger boards might actually be too narrow. The spacing between the strings on my guitars has always felt a bit crowded as a matter of fact. That and the fact that despite hours of practice I never seemed to build up calluses, or at least calluses that were thick enough to cope with the bottom strings.

SamWise
09-19-2008, 05:09 AM
Interesting. I've always found it's the top strings on a steel-string that hurt me. I would advise that you go to a music shop, and try a classical guitar. You might just find it suits you.

I would also recommend, if you've been playing cheap acoustic guitars, that you go out and try at least a mid-priced steel string. If you've been used to something that's 80 in the Argos catalog, that could be the root of your problems. Try something by Simon and Patrick, or Norman, at around the 250-300 range.

vialde
09-19-2008, 05:51 AM
Interesting. I've always found it's the top strings on a steel-string that hurt me. I would advise that you go to a music shop, and try a classical guitar. You might just find it suits you.

I would also recommend, if you've been playing cheap acoustic guitars, that you go out and try at least a mid-priced steel string. If you've been used to something that's 80 in the Argos catalog, that could be the root of your problems. Try something by Simon and Patrick, or Norman, at around the 250-300 range.

Yeah, I plan on having a go this weekend at the local music shop. I haven't owned any top of the range guitars. A Squire Stratocaster and a Vintage v900, not argos cheap, but not stellar for sure.

Sorry ukulele gods if this thread is getting too guitar-y for this particular board.

LoMa
09-19-2008, 09:12 AM
A lot of people find the wider nut and string-spread at the saddle of a classical guitar much easier to play that the narrower nut and bridge saddle fo stell strings, especially if you play fingetstyle (without a pick). This includes people with small hands!!! Hand size does NOT determine whether a wide or narrow nut on a guitar will be easier for you to play!!!

The nut and saddle string spead of a classical is more comparable to that of most ukes than a steel string is. There are some steel strings that are made more for fingerpickers with a slightly wider nut and saddle than other steel strings guitars, but they're still narrow compared to a classical.

Your playing style will also affect whether a narrow or a wide nut will work for you. If you're a "thumber", i.e., you use your thumb to fret the bass strings, then a narrower neck and nut will work better for you. If you use a pick, then a narrower saddle will work better for you because you can pick so much faster that way (they've actually done studies on this!!!).

If you are a fingerpciker, then a wider saddle will be much better for you. If you are a melody player, fretting long runs of individual notes, then a wider neck often works better for many people.

If it's the feel of the strings that make a difference for you, or the lower string tension, then classical guitars are probably the way to go. You could also try lighter gauge steel strings on your steel string guitar - I use XL string on mine!!!

Nylon strings will sound deader than a doornail on a steel string guitar - they don't produce enough energy to make the heavily braced guitar top resonate. On the other hand, NEVER NEVER put steel strings on a classical guitar or you will destroy it's lightly braced top!!!!!!

If you can, I'd go to an instrument store and try playing something a uke song you already know how to play on a guitar, just using the 4 highest strings on the guitar you're trying out - don't transpose anything, just fret it like you would on your uke. Or play a guitar peice you already have played, and see which instrument feels best for you.

Ultimately, it's what feels comfortable for you and what kind of tone you like.

vialde
09-19-2008, 09:26 AM
@LoMa

That sounds like good advice. I'll give that a go for sure. Thanks.

LoMa
09-19-2008, 10:26 AM
By the way, if you're looking for an electric guitar, I'd give the nod towards two inexpensive ones that might work well for you:

1. Dean Vendetta XM Electric Guitar - super lightweight and very very resonant!!! Strat style body. Has a wider nut than most electrics - real comforatble for this classical guitar player. So-so but decent humbucker pickups. Real basic guitar. Low string tension - I use D'Addario xtra lites on it. Has really lousy tuning machines, but honestly you don';t have to replace unless you're using heavier strings that will give you tighter string tension. Mine came well set-up right out of the box - intonation and action was super. But a lot of folks have had to set up the intonation and action. Luck of the draw on this one.

I love my Dean Vendetta.

$100 with free shipping from Muscisian's Friend. If it has a problem or you want to exchange it for another one, there's no problem. They even pay for the return shipping!!!!!!
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Dean-Vendetta-XM-Electric-Guitar?sku=512150

2. Ibanez Mikro short scale electric guitar. Standard width nut and string spread, just a shorter scale - about 22", like a baritone uke. Low string tension - again I use D'addario xtra lites on mine. Heavier than the Dean guitar above, but still light weight, and has a real nice thin profle body. Fast neck, higher quality guitar than the Dean, but still made in China. Same real lousy tuners. Better humbucker pickups than the Dean. It's an Ibanez, so it has a cool factor in spite of being a mini-shredder. Holds it resale value (the Dean has virutally no resale value). Good resonance, but not qutie as naturally resonant as the Dean.

$130 with free shipping from Musician's friend.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-?sku=518875

I also love my Mikro, but if I haven't been playing an electric guitar for awhile, I pick up the Dean first because of it's wider fretboard, which makes the transition effortless and mindless... I am lazy...

Guitar Center also sells these guitars, so you could try 'em out in person if there's one of these chain stores near you!

Woohoo!!!!

hoosierhiver
09-19-2008, 12:05 PM
I'd say the strings were only a fraction of it.I could never stick with guitar either,but can't go a day without playing uke.I think the size makes a diference,it was always a chore to get the big ass guitar out of the corner,take it out of the case,sit down with it and then the phone rings.My uke I hang on the wall and it's a quick draw situation for sure.