why an acoustic guitar?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by MisterKim, Sep 28, 2021.

  1. MisterKim

    MisterKim Electromatic

    Sep 2, 2021
    Redmond, WA
    The other day, the Gretsch-Talk Forum trending threads email landed in my inbox. One of the busier threads involved the question: Why do I need an acoustic guitar? in the Roots forum area. Many people fell on the side of "it's a different, worthwhile experience" -- a point of view I've come to appreciate, although I enjoy my electric guitars more than my acoustic guitar in general.

    Today I was reminded of why an acoustic guitar can be, in the right hands, a transcendent instrument. Anyway, today a buddy (re)posted a video in FB that I recalled seeing back in the spring, but it caused me to reflect on the Roots thread here and reinforced for me why an acoustic guitar can be something special.

    Marcin Patrzalek can do some amazing stuff with an acoustic guitar, including this Led Zeppelin classic:

    Born in the year 2000. Insane.
    swivel, ishtar, MrWookiee and 6 others like this.
  2. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Acoustic guitars are the foundation that electrics are built upon. They're the root, the progenitor, the beginning, the basic instrument we all love. Chicken before the egg kind of thing. It's a grab and play instrument. You don't need to deal with plugging it in, turning on an amp and waiting for the tubes to warm up, adjusting controls and pedals---just grab it and play.
    If you think an acoustic limits you, listen to Tommy Emmanuel, Leo Kottke, or Marcin noted in MisterKim's post. I'd suggest that an acoustic can be more difficult to play in ways as you're not relying on electronics and FX to carry you. For a beginner, it's better than an electric as you won't be annoying everyone in the hearing range of an amp. You can't take an electric guitar everywhere, but an acoustic is ultimately portable. It's also another voice in your musical palate.
    ishtar, MrWookiee and section2 like this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    You better believe it . Good stuff
  4. ampe

    ampe Country Gent

    May 11, 2011
    Why an accoustic guitar? Because when you hook it up to effects and a distorted amp like John Butler and Ben Howard do it's really cool.
  5. GenghisBomb

    GenghisBomb Electromatic

    Sep 26, 2021
    It's almost all I play. Accompanying yourself on an acoustic is about as real as music gets IMHO.
    Runamok and section2 like this.
  6. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Country Gent

    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    Exactly! Effects, especially distortion pedals, are great at hiding mistakes. With an acoustic, you don't have that security blanket. I like to practice something first on my acoustic to get the bugs out, and then switch to an electric. Kind of a pride thing, I guess- people listening while I play might not notice any mistakes, but I do.
    wabash slim and section2 like this.
  7. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Watched this and loved it and the next up was this one and loved it also. OK OK I listened to about five minutes then got fed up and noticed it goes on for over an hour, Who Does that!
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
  8. Rock Lajoint

    Rock Lajoint Synchromatic

    Nov 16, 2014
    Sussex, England
    If you sing and play solo with an acoustic guitar and perform well, it sounds great. If you do the same with an electric guitar it sounds like you're waiting for the rest of the band to show up.
  9. MisterKim

    MisterKim Electromatic

    Sep 2, 2021
    Redmond, WA
    As a neophyte (strictly recreational) guitarist (still in what must be called early days for my guitar journey), I have found my acoustic guitar to be both sonorous to play and and sometimes a bit challenging. One thing I find difficult to do is bend a wound G string. LOL. So, songs that are generally intended for acoustic guitar that involve bending the G string (thinking of the Wish You Were Here riff just now) are a little tougher to reproduce effectively, while easy on my 335 clone or 5220. I just have to put up with a bit of un-played open string hum (or figure out how to better finesse string muting while playing that riff).

    Anyway, I do love my little Fender Newporter Special acoustic for working through finger picking lessons/songs, practicing scales, strumming through "campfire song" kinds of chord progressions, and the like. Nonetheless, I do find my electric guitars more entertaining and, frankly, easier to play. The acoustic guitar does require a bit more care and concentration to get notes to ring out cleanly. That's actually probably a good I thing, I think, at my relatively inexperienced state. Seems like it should help build more accurate muscle memory and be useful for daily training. It's a process and I'm loving it.

    And, side comment: I don't sing. Ever. Be glad. So, the whole "playing a guitar and singing unaccompanied" thing is, well, beyond my practical experiential realm. LOL.
  10. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    Because maybe the organ in the church was broken?

    "On Christmas Eve 1818, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for that night's mass, after river flooding had possibly damaged the church organ."
    SAguitar likes this.
  11. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Where did the chicken come from then?

    Sorry, had to ask.
  12. rake_ether

    rake_ether Gretschie

    Aug 24, 2019
    Athens, GA USA
    As someone taking a deeper dive into Delta Blues I realize that much, maybe most, was played on acoustics. So, my acoustics gets played for that (finger style and slide). I do experiment playing Delta with my Gretsches and find that the Blacktop Filtertrons work better than the TV Jones Classics.
    Craig Encinitas and GlenP like this.
  13. Chet Harrison

    Chet Harrison Gretschie

    Apr 27, 2020
    I can't stand all that tappy tappy stuff.
  14. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Why did people start eating chicken?
    Someone told them it tasted like lizard.
  15. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac Electromatic

    Mar 13, 2016
    Texas Panhandle
    Why an acoustic guitar?

    Because that's where it all started. And it helps to get back to the basics now and then...
    Craig Encinitas likes this.
  16. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    Amazing. Electric can get boring, not because it's redundant but because all the different voices can be redundant in a way.... If that makes sense. It's like, "I'm bored, what pedal should I push?" Instead of looking to the fingers and instrument for change....
    G5422T and Craig Encinitas like this.
  17. Craig Encinitas

    Craig Encinitas Gretschie

    May 3, 2021
    Encinitas, Ca
    Are the acoustic Gretsch offerings all made overseas?
  18. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Craig Encinitas likes this.
  19. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    The only way that I can describe playing an acoustic is that it's a "one on one" experience. Priceless time for me.
    swivel and Craig Encinitas like this.
  20. MisterKim

    MisterKim Electromatic

    Sep 2, 2021
    Redmond, WA
    This evening I was listening to my friend Spotify's "Daily Mix 1" offering when a truly classic song rolled up: Mary Gauthier's Mercy Now. It's a classic Americana roots tune. *Nearly* on par with Gillian Welch's Everything is Free. Not quite, but close. Mary's guitar accompaniment is comparatively straightforward, although the song is really all about its awesome lyrical arrangement. But the sparse guitar foundation sets those off well.

    I poked the interwebs and found the chord progression and fingerpicked and strummed along with the tune on my little acoustic. It's a very sweetly depressing tune. VERY Americana. And really only suited to an acoustic guitar approach IMHO. Nice way to spend a few minutes after dinner.
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