Is your acoustic guitar sounding stale? Check out these tips that will help you breathe a new life into your acoustic guitar playing. All the upgrades discussed here will be quite inexpensive as well.
While it might appear like your options for upgrading your acoustic are somewhat limited. After all, solid woods and bracing rely on craftsmanship rather than aftermarket tweaks. However, you can try some things. So instead of buying a new acoustic guitar, you might want to try these tips out first.
One of the most interesting upgrades you can do, for a guitar, is to get a better guitar pick. While it’s ‘just a piece of plastic’, but that piece of plastic is what you’re using as a tactile connection to articulate the string. It’s hugely important.”
It makes an important difference to the sound of your acoustic guitar. That thing needs to be set up correctly, and if you have real low-quality material, you’re going to hear it.
Think of the acoustic guitar as a signal chain: the very first thing the string resonates against is the saddle. The saddle is conducting every single note you play, so having quality saddle material and making sure the saddle fits into the slot well is really important.
Strings can make a huge difference to the way your guitar sounds. Not just between materials, but between different manufacturers, too. Strings are as much a variant as the guitar itself.
Even if your guitar has the voice you want, picking a different kind of string is one of the quickest and easiest ways of changing that voice.
Different acoustic guitar strings will have different characteristics, and it’s not that difficult or expensive to get a few different brands, even of the same-size string. Get a couple of different sets and work out what sounds best for your playing style and for you.
Fix String Buzz
If your acoustic guitar is buzzing open and you’re not touching anything, chances are that the nut slots are low, and the string is just sitting on the 1st fret. If it buzzes in the middle of the neck and not so much elsewhere, it’s probably that the neck itself is ‘round’. If you have a guitar with an adjustable truss rod, you can adjust it and flatten that out.
There are some subtleties that won’t make a lot of difference, but if you have a huge number of coils on the headstock that are all overlapping and messy, that can make your tuning unstable, because the metal is always compressing and won’t want to stay in tune.
Stringing and stretching
If your guitar’s strings are stretched to the point where they lose intonation and won’t stay in tune, so you don’t want to go too crazy.
The core wire gives it some stiffness and strength, and along the string path there are a couple of points where it has to make a little bend. What you can do is put your string on, tune it up to pitch and get it set. Then, right behind the saddle, with the edge of your pick, press down a little to seat it against the saddle.
You repeat the process over the nut, and then if you press the string against the tuning post, it’ll even out the last bend. The string will go flat in pitch, but when you tune up, it should be stable from then on.
Pickups will make your acoustic guitar louder. So you need to find the system that sounds how you want it to sound. It’s not just something that generates noise; it’s going to have its own characteristic.