Probably very very basic questions

RhodesRhodes Posts: 1,584Member
This are probably very very basic questions, and I am probably missing something obvious. But:

1. What is a string winder for? Why not just turn the machine head in the usual way when changing strings?

2. The action on my acoustic guitar is very high and it's difficult to barre the strings (as I have mentioned in another thread). I think I need to change the strings, as the current ones are green and clogged up with dead skin. If I get a lighter gauge of string, will that make them easier to press down? I gather I might lose a bit of the tone and resonanance usually associated with an old and cheap Yamaha FG guitar!

Comments

  • SwoopSwoop Posts: 680Member
    Using a lighter gauge of strings may help to make your guitar easier on the hands. You should be okay if you go down by one guage without having to have the truss rod readjusted. Alternatively you could have the action lowered by a guitar tech. This doesn't cost much. I think I paid around £20 to get the action raised (ouch! I like pain) on one of my guitars so it should be similar the other way around.

    \:\)
  • SwoopSwoop Posts: 680Member
    Oh and the string winder. I have one but I don't use it. It's supposed to make it easier on the hands winding and unwinding strings but it just gets in my way!

    \:\)
  • Options
     Quote:
    Originally posted by Rhodes:
    1. What is a string winder for? Why not just turn the machine head in the usual way when changing strings?


    When you've attached a new string, it takes a hell of a lot of turns of the button thingummy (forget the proper name this early in the morning :rolleyes: ) to actually get the string properly wound onto the machinehead and up to pitch. Many people find that this constant turning can really hurt the wrist. A string winder makes the radius of the turn a lot bigger, and so reduces the stress on the wrist because you can then actually crank the thing with your arm, rather than just your wrist.

    I use a D'Addario Planet Waves combined winder and string clipper...but mainly only the clipper part. Being a string-change guru, I don't mind winding the strings on completely manually. ;\)

     Quote:
    Originally posted by Rhodes:
    2. The action on my acoustic guitar is very high and it's difficult to barre the strings (as I have mentioned in another thread). I think I need to change the strings, as the current ones are green and clogged up with dead skin. If I get a lighter gauge of string, will that make them easier to press down? I gather I might lose a bit of the tone and resonanance usually associated with an old and cheap Yamaha FG guitar! ;\)


    I'll go through this backwards.

    Quite simply, you get more tone with thicker strings. Plus, you also get a tighter feel, which, IMHO, makes for an easier playing experience.

    I find that I can barre more easily with thicker strings - probably because my fingers are pretty skinny. However, once you master the whole barre malarkey, you'll find that lighter strings are easier on the fingers.
  • RhodesRhodes Posts: 1,584Member
    Ah. That makes sense. Thanks. I think the strings on my acoustic guitar are almost antiques now. Not even sure I have changed them in (ahem) 20 years! Except the first string broke once and that was replaced, whilst the guitar was in the custody of my brother. :p

    By the time I master the barring, my fingers will be calloused and tough and I'll hardly feel the strings, whatever gauge they are! :rolleyes:
  • LooseMooseLooseMoose Posts: 1,716Member
    Hi,

    Everyone has answered about the string winder - suffice it to say that your machineheads shouldn't need more than a few turns to get up to pitch if you string properly! (Next meetup i can do a clinic if anyone wants).

    Otherwise - i would get the guitar set up - it's always gonna be hard (especially if you haven't been playing a lot) to barre on acoustic, but a properly set-up guitar is the best way to make life easy on yourself.

    Quite often people think it's the bridge height that causes problems, but on cheaper guitars it can just as easily be the height of the nut - Yamaha FG's are CHRONIC for this IMO but have got better in recent years.

    So in short, 30 quids worth of setup (assuming no fret work is required) can make your playing improve! Now THAT's worth spending! \:D


    Cheers,
    James
  • RhodesRhodes Posts: 1,584Member
    Eric Clapton managed to barre on an acoustic pretty well on MTV Unplugged. He must have a good guitar.

    I ought to check with my local music shop for their advice on how much it would cost to set up my acoustic properly. nfortunately, a couple of the frets (those near the nut) are a bit worn. But I could live with that if the action was rather lower. As it's a pretty cheap guitar, it wouldn't be worth spending too much on it, probably. Especially as I am getting my electric one soon.
  • LooseMooseLooseMoose Posts: 1,716Member
     Quote:
    Originally posted by Rhodes:
    Eric Clapton managed to barre on an acoustic pretty well on MTV Unplugged. He must have a good guitar.


    You would be surprised after playing for a while how much easier it becomes - I play acoustic guitar in a duo and will barre all night on and off with my acoustic - you just get used to it.


    Now i have a MANS handshake! \:D


    Cheers,
    James
  • Options
    Using a string winder is also supposed to give a more consistant tension on the winding of string onto the post, providing better tuning stability and tone. Read this in a couple of places but can't verify from experience.

    Practise and a decent setup are what you need to manage barres on an accoustic, it's taken me 6months but I'm just about getting there, jsut started a tune that's almost entirely berred chords - ouch, most definately ouch,especially after second or third time through. Jsut keep at it.
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