What It Really Means To Have A Guitar That Plays Well - And How To Get It!
The Made-Up Word That Means Everything
Made up words are all the rage these days, aren't they? What with everyone and their brother "tweeting", pop music being in some "Gaga" reality, athletes "tebowing". You get it.
Usually guitar guys stay out of that whole nonsense. Right?
Not here, though. We're jumping the bandwagon but keeping our cool.
Check that one out. Copy and paste it. Photoshop that puppy up and down. Spray paint it on your old elementary school if you'd like.
Either way, you're gonna want to know it.
Why? Because playability is gonna be the relationship meter between you and your guitar. The dial that hits "love" or "hate".
It's gonna be the difference between the equivalent of a bitchy girlfriend and your dream girl.
You want playability to be the first thing you're reminded of when you pick up that guitar.
So you can grab it, put it on your lap and go "oh yeah, that's why I love this thing." It should be that comfortable. That cushy. That lovely.
Or whatever it is that you kids say these days.
Alright, so playability's important. The relationship meter, the made-up word that means everything.
So, then, how do you get the playability of your dreams?
Let's make like a movie set and start with "Action".
Guitars: The Only Time Less "Action" Is Better
This ain't no Hollywood blockbuster. Ain't no summer camp fling.
Here, too much action is a bit of curse. Not a good thing. Garbage, if you will.
Because action is the space between the strings and the neck. It's the space you'll be pushing through with each and every note you play.
You just can't take it for granted.
Too much space means too much work for your fingers. Too little space runs the risk of getting extra sounds, including an unclean buzzzzzzzz sound that can really drive you up walls! Neither is good.
You gotta find your own delicate middle. What works for you. What isn't going to bother you each time you play.
And that's what playability is all about. You NEED to be comfortable. It can be a matter of quitting or staring.
Frustration's Just Another Name For The Devil
The last thing you want with action, or all of playability for that matter, is frustration.
It's going to prevent you from playing more.
Frustration's the devil in the details with guitar. You know it. We know it.
It's the biggest river on which to build your bridge. You'll get frustrated, no doubt about it. The key is to not keep getting frustrated. This is what you want. Let's get it.
Bad action is going to be frustrating, I can promise you that. As a beginning guitarist, you're prone a whole slew of frustrations. Using a program like StringNinja takes out ALMOST all the frustrations that come with starting.
It's truly the best program of its kind and IT can't even take away the frustration from bad action. So be careful - keep a keen eye for it!
Playability Is Made-Up, But Possibility Is Reality
So, Frustration is a demon. Playability is a mystery. I know, I know - sounds like a Greek Drama. But both are conquerable, I promise.
Guitarists have all been where you are, hoping to avoid frustration. Hoping it won't be them that yields to the devil and quits.
Playability is something that certain guitars kind of just have. You're going to want to do your best to find it. If you can, you won't even have to think about it much, the playability will just BE there. If not, it may be a rough road ahead.
Sounds rough, I know, it almost happened to me. But I fought through my frustration and channeled into our How To Buy Your First Guitar eBook so you won't have to go through what I went through.
Check out the eBook's chapter on playability and buying your first guitar and figure the whole thing out once and for all!
Video Guitar Tips
Fret Hand Technique
Alternate picking is essential to practice early! More info on String Ninja...