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The Progression from Acoustic to Electric and Vice Versa

Moving from acoustic to electric guitar or vice versa is sometimes what a player must do in the course of his/her career. Even in my case, though I started as a classical player, and then stayed with electric for a good 12 years or so, it took all that time before I once again took acoustic guitar seriously, and made it a big part of my playing arsenal. What that ended up doing for me was creating a style that truly was a “hybrid” between the electric and acoustic approach. All those years of bending and strong vibrato on the electric made me have a style, once adapted to the acoustic, that was more of a blend of the two. It seemed to make me more of a kind of player who got the most out of the acoustic, and since it was the beginning of the “acoustic pickup” era, I was also going through an amp, and using reverb, which further enhanced my “electric/acoustic” approach.

This is something for many of you to keep in mind, as I’m sure a lot of you are electric players first, and acoustic players second. But I like this kind of progression, in which you “add” acoustic to your existing electric approach. The harder one, especially after what I have experienced in my lifetime, is the switch from acoustic over to electric. This is because most acoustic players mostly “strum” a lot, and the use of an electric guitar has a whole different bag of tricks when it comes to learning to control an amplified instrument. The blocking and dampening becomes even more necessary, and many acoustic strummers and pickers, though familiar with blocking and dampening, have not had to do it to the extent an electric guitar demands!

The most obvious stuff I’ve witnessed with this is watching many of the acoustic “folk” artists I have played with over the years with electric guitars in their hands. When that happens, look out! Prepare to be blasted by right-hand heavy playing that simply pounds away at the guitar, with very little subtlety! These are players that have been trying for years to wrench everything out of their acoustics forever, and now, they must deal with a very loud, amplified guitar they must somehow manage to “control.” This is a very big step for many, and it requires a reassessment of the instrument in your hands, and just what you want it to do for you. In the end, if you really can make the transition smoothly, you should ideally have a great acoustic approach as well as an electric, and even though they are obviously going to have similarities to each other, you should still arrive at distinct styles and approaches for both! So good luck in your electric/acoustic endeavors, and I hope you really develop your own style altogether on both!

Posted: 4/5/2012 2:05:44 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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