Author Topic: Warping my chords on an electric guitar  (Read 306 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline johnmulq

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
  • Good Vibes 0
Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« on: October 18, 2020, 03:34:36 am »
As background, I have a Morris acoustic guitar which I have been playing (infrequently) for the past 30 years or so.  Although I am used to it, others that have played it have commented that it is hard on the fingers (Chord hand) to play. 

As a retirement gift to myself, I have purchased a Fender Stratocaster and I have noticed that when I play simple chords (D, A, Am etc.) I seem to push the strings up causing a rather weird set of sharp notes within the chord.  This does not seem to occur on my acoustic.

To correct this I am trying to play "softly" by concentrating on pressing my fingers lightly.

I am wondering if anyone else has had this issue and if you have any clues as to how to remedy it.

Thanks.

Offline Majik

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 2456
  • Good Vibes 187
    • My Road Case
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2020, 05:43:09 am »
Welcome to the forum.

Electric guitar strings are a lot more flexible than acoustic strings, by design. This is because string bending on electric guitars is common.

Even people who have never played an acoustic guitar will sometimes push a chord out of tune on an electric by bending a string slightly, or even just pressing down too hard on the strings.

I'm afraid the only cure for this is to learn to not press so hard. It could also be your chord fingering is a bit sloppy and you are pushing the strings at weird angles.

You can also put thicker gauge strings on which won't bend as easily, but you will still need to learn a lighter touch if you are used to an acoustic guitar with thick strings and/or a high action.

If you do put much thicker strings on, it will impact the guitar set up. For a start the strings probably won't fit properly in the nut. You would be best to get a guitar tech to do the string change and a set up for you if you do.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Online J.W.C.

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1236
  • Good Vibes 74
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2020, 06:14:33 am »
Quite common. I switch between acoustic and electric with some frequency, and I've experienced this, too. It's more obvious on some electrics. Happens more often when you have light strings or jumbo frets or relatively high action on the electric (or a combination of the these). The bottom line is that you need to adjust the pressure you're using based on the guitar and the strings.

In any case, you're definitely not alone and not the first to experience this. Learning to adjust your playing based on the guitar is one of those things that just comes with time and experience. Being aware of it is an excellent first step, though.

Offline johnmulq

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
  • Good Vibes 0
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2020, 06:30:19 am »
Thanks guys, I will add a few minutes of  "light touch" to my practice schedule and hopefully improve the situation.  Appreciate your guidance.   :)

Offline close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 13024
  • Good Vibes 576
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2020, 09:04:56 am »
Hi John, welcome to the forum.
I'd like to ask which exact model of Stratocaster you have?
I suffer this exact same problem with mine.
It has jumbo frets and this causes me problems and frustration.
I play almost only acoustic these days. Occasionally I pick up my Strat and find it is so easy to push single notes or chords out of tune due to the fret size. It is a question of retraining your fingers and muscles. Many people swear by their jumbo fret guitars as being the best thing on the planet. I remain unconvinced and wish it had mediums myself.

Offline sairfingers

  • Arena Rocker
  • *****
  • Posts: 998
  • Good Vibes 58
  • 󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿The guitar is the coolest instrument in the world
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 10:03:24 am »
Hi John, I constantly have to practice a lighter touch when I play my electric. Compared to my acoustic, the electric has lighter thinner strings, a lower action and a shorter scale length (so slightly less tension on the strings). All these factors lead to sharp notes and unintentional bends if I press too hard.
When I first got my electric I changed the strings from 9’s to 10’s which made a bit of a difference but the issue is still there. The downside of doing this of course is that it makes it harder to do intentional string bends!

There is no answer to this other than, as others have already said, developing a lighter touch.
In fact I sometimes find when I go back to the acoustic that my touch is too light and I get duff notes, so it takes a minute or two to adjust again. It’s all just practice I’m afraid.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 10:29:11 am by sairfingers »
BC (classic) completed, now on Intermediate Course, Folk Fingerstyle and Blues modules. Pickin’, lickin’ and improvisin’.....😎
Martin D28 : Gibson SG : Boss Katana 50.

Offline rwoodlin

  • School Prom Hero
  • **
  • Posts: 75
  • Good Vibes 5
  • Hands of brick
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2020, 12:11:04 pm »
Sure am glad to hear others have this problem that has vexed me from day one.  It is especially comforting to know very experienced and excellent guitarists occasionally encounter fret hand pressure issues.

I rotate between three guitars, two electrics and an acoustic, when I practice.  I use the acoustic for the ear training and music theory modules I have just begun.  It is a Taylor Academy 10 with good action but still requires a bit more finger pressure than the electrics.  I then switch to either a G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy Tribute or a G&L Doheny V12.  Both the electrics are now strung with 10s (the Bluesboy had 9s) which helps somewhat but the action on the electrics requires a very light touch or the strings twang when I release the chord, especially a D chord.

Lately I am really concentrating on applying less pressure with my fret hand and lifting my fingers in a more straight up fashion but I find that I tend to also lighten up my strum and sometimes flat out miss the strings altogether!  As much as I really want to progress through the lessons in a timely manner it has become apparent I need to get a handle on this before I move past beginners grade 1.

Does anyone have a suggested hand exercise that is useful?
Regards,
Robert

Offline sairfingers

  • Arena Rocker
  • *****
  • Posts: 998
  • Good Vibes 58
  • 󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿The guitar is the coolest instrument in the world
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2020, 01:29:55 pm »
Does anyone have a suggested hand exercise that is useful?
The bottom line is you only need to apply as much fret finger pressure as is necessary to get clean notes. The answer to that is practice and changing back and forward regularly between different guitars.
BC (classic) completed, now on Intermediate Course, Folk Fingerstyle and Blues modules. Pickin’, lickin’ and improvisin’.....😎
Martin D28 : Gibson SG : Boss Katana 50.

Offline CT

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 2382
  • Good Vibes 127
    • YouTube
Re: Warping my chords on an electric guitar
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2020, 06:41:22 pm »
It's worth a trip to a good guitar tech for a setup and discussion of the issue you are seeing. If your nut grooves are not cut low enough you will always struggle with fretting notes sharp in the first position, even with a lighter touch, and regardless of string gauge. 

 

Get The Forum As A Mobile App