Playability

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
LP4guitar
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:18 am

Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:32 pm

Hi all

I need a little advice please

I have a cheap used classical guitar, it's super light and not even real wood I don't think, actually cost me very little in a charity shop. It had been sat in the window and looked very sad so I saved it.

Now I'm not saying this guitar is good but it sure plays very well & is fun to play!

My question is, I also have an expensive B rosewood, hand made, sounds incredible to my ears, classical guitar but it's so hard to play and I struggle with it daily and not really sure how to go about making it a bit more easy to play. I've tried all manner of string brands and tensions still it seems tight to play and hard to barre and control the dynamics.

The action on my cheapie CG is actually higher than my hand made one. Also my tutor tells me the action is actually a tad low on my expensive guitar, which surprises me as any higher and I'd struggle to play it.

Laura
Last edited by LP4guitar on Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

celestemcc
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Re: Playability

Post by celestemcc » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:17 pm

There are other factors besides the action... compared to the "easy" guitar, is the neck shaped differently? Is it wider? Is the fingerboard flatter? what about string tension: are you using a harder tension on the handmade? is the scale longer on the handmade guitar? There are so many things that can make it harder to play. First thing that comes to my mind is scale, but again, much more to it than that... let us know.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

nmshu1
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Re: Playability

Post by nmshu1 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:23 pm

check the scale/string length and strings spacing at nut and saddle first...compare the differences between your two guitars...

Yesterday, I played my 640 and 630. Playability was totally different because of different spacing at nut.
Otto Vowinkel Concert 650 | Paulino Bernabe Torres 645 | Juan Hernandez Torres 640 | German V. Rubio Concert 635 | Kenny Hill Performance 630

LP4guitar
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:24 pm

Thanks & lots to consider. I'll measure and compare over the weekend and get back intouch with the details.

Likely hood is I need a luthier to check it over. But if it's the curving in the neck making playing difficult then not much I presume can be done.

Thanks
Last edited by LP4guitar on Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

celestemcc
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Re: Playability

Post by celestemcc » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:54 pm

If your action's low at the middle of the neck, I doubt the neck is curving. Put a straight edge along the neck between and parallel to the strings, that'll tell you to a degree. Again, check the neck shape ("C" vs "D" shapes, say). Is one neck thicker than the other? Measure the width of each nut and compare. Are both fingerboards dead flat or does one have a slight curve edge to edge (which is a feature, not a bad thing). Are the frets taller on one fingerboard than the other? You can see that pretty easily. And yes, measure scale, edge of nut to saddle.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

LP4guitar
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:47 am

Thanks for the info and time. It's appreciated.
I'll jot down all the details. It will be very useful to understand how the guitar build is effecting my playing and perhaps look into getting adjustments or searching for a better suited build but with similar sound qualities.

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souldier
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Re: Playability

Post by souldier » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:30 pm

Try to also compare the nut height between both guitars by just eye-balling how high the strings are from the fret in the first frets. That could be a possible culprit especially when it comes to barring. Another possibility is if there is too much neck relief.

Another factor that comes to my mind is the top compliance/stiffness of your handmade guitar, since you say your handmade guitar has a lower action and still feels harder to play. Do the strings feel stiff for the right hand as well as the left compared to your cheap guitar? If that's the case, then it could mean your handmade guitar has less top compliance, thus making it hard to bar and fret the strings. If this is the case, then there isn't much you can really do to change this... expect maybe hope things will loosen up with time.

If doing some adjustments/setup won't fix the problem... the solution is to sell the guitar and get something with comparable/better sound and easier playabilty. Playing a guitar shouldn't be daily struggle as you describe it but should be enjoyable and effortless. Good sound doesn't make up for toilsome playability.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

LP4guitar
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:47 am

Hi đź‘‹

Following all the good advice and how to measure and lookout for this is what I've found...

cheap guitar...

650 - mm scale from lower end of nut to beginning of saddle.
53mm Nut.
Higher frets.
Completely Straight fretboard/neck
Consistant thickness in neck from nut.
Visible lower action at 12th fret.


Hand made...

650 mm scale.
54 mm nut.
Curved fretboard neck.
Lower frets.
Neck starts thinner and fattens out towards saddle.
Visible higher action at 12th fret.

celestemcc
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Re: Playability

Post by celestemcc » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:52 pm

Not too different except for the action. The neck of my own guitar gets a bit thicker toward the high end. One more question: is the shape of the neck (well, the back of it) different between them? That can make a difference.

Higher frets are often a little easier to play. Same for lower action. So now the question is if the handmade is appropriately high. Aside from these, it may just take some getting used to. Or simply getting a more comfortable guitar, if that's an option of course.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

LP4guitar
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:11 pm

Thanks for more responses.

Regarding necks, the cheaper guitar neck is actually thicker but stays the same shape thickness up to the heel.

LP4guitar
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Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:13 pm

Will lowering the action help to release/alleviate some of the tightness of the guitar?

wil weten
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Re: Playability

Post by wil weten » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:28 pm

Maybe the string tension could be different between the two guitars? Which string set is on the one guitar, and which on the other?

Dave Stott
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Re: Playability

Post by Dave Stott » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:41 pm

Playability is #1 in my list. If the neck of the guitar is uncomfortable to me, I won't play it no matter who made it or how expensive it is.

My humble suggestion is to get the guitar to your local guitar tech and see what changes are recommended to improve the play-ability of the guitar

It could be a simple string tension change or adjustments to the nut/saddle.
2015 Cordoba GK Pro Negra
2017 Cordoba C-10 Cedar
2003 Froggy Bottom H-12 Deluxe

LP4guitar
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Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:01 pm

Both same strings, medium La Bella 2001

Right next question, a recommended luthier based in London or as close to please? I've asked around the clasical guitar shops in central London and they seem reluctant to recommend.

LP4guitar
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Playability

Post by LP4guitar » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:05 pm

Another factor that comes to my mind is the top compliance/stiffness of your handmade guitar, since you say your handmade guitar has a lower action and still feels harder to play. Do the strings feel stiff for the right hand as well as the left compared to your cheap guitar? If that's the case, then it could mean your handmade guitar has less top compliance, thus making it hard to bar and fret the strings. If this is the case, then there isn't much you can really do to change this... expect maybe hope things will loosen up with time
In the mean time I'm going to look into this a bit more.

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