As soon as I heard the familiar schwing sound and the song I was playing sounded off, I knew I had a bit of a problem.
I hate changing guitar strings. It’s not that hard – buy some new strings, use a string winder to take off the old strings, replace with new strings (or if you’re really lazy, just replace the one you broke), tune up strings, stretch and break in new strings so that they don’t go out of tune each time you play. Okay, not hard, just time consuming.
I don’t change my strings very often, in fact the last time I did I’d had the same ones on my acoustic for about four years (I used a thinner plectrum then, and wasn’t as aggressive a player. I guess my ex-wife must have sucked the life out of me). A lot of gunk can build up on them in that time, let me tell you. They also tend to sound a bit flat and lifeless (a bit like me in the morning), as continued use and bending flattens out the bottom part of the string where it rubs against the fret.
So, instead of going to the music shop and buying new strings, I decided to pack my acoustic away and get out my Fender Telecaster. Playing an electric guitar without amplification is fine, but it certainly doesn’t have the same sound or feel as an acoustic – for one it’s much easier to play, as the string height on the neck is considerably lower – and the only volume produced is from the strings themselves, as the electric is solid bodied, thus very soft and tinny.
Electric guitars have coils that amplify the sound of the strings and, to a lesser degree, the wooden body of the guitar. Acoustic guitars generate their volume via strings and their hollow body, projecting that sound via the sound hole on the front, so the type of wood the guitar is made of becomes more important.
The good thing about electric guitars is you can plug in an amp, add effects, and suddenly you’re a rock god (no offense to the big guy upstairs). This can:
- Upset the neighbours
- Distract you from your uni work that you have fallen behind on
- Delay you changing the broken string on the acoustic
But man, it feels great! That string can wait for a few more days…
If you don’t like hearing about my guitar playing blues (see what I did there?), you may prefer to read some of my poetry, here.