Some guitarists may dream of playing expensive guitars.
The reason is not the price itself, but the quality of the instrument.
They look way much better than cheaper guitars, and they definitely sound cooler!
However, are expensive guitars easier to play as well? Or is it just a myth?
Expensive guitars may be easier to play because the materials they are made of and their construction are of high quality. This not only makes playing feel better but also lowers actions and other features that help as well. However, it all boils down to the guitarist’s preferences.
Time to dive deeper into this topic.
Let’s find out what attributes make a guitar easier to play.
Why expensive guitars might be easier to play
It is not always the case, but if a guitar is more expensive, then it is probably built better.
With this in mind, we could say that expensive guitars are, all in all, easier to play.
But why? First of all, better guitars are less prone to experience fret buzz.
Fret buzz occurs when the strings vibrate against the fret on the guitar’s neck. The result is an unwanted buzz that ruins your sound.
When playing with better (or expensive) guitars, it is easier to press on string with less pressure, thus, avoiding this fret buzz.
This is strongly related to the guitar’s action as well. The action is the distance between the top of the frets and the strings.
The lower the action, the easier to press down notes. This is especially true for acoustic guitars since they are generally harder to play than electric guitars.
If the acoustic has a higher action, it will take time until an inexperienced guitarist gets the hang out of it.
Also, high-priced guitars hold tuning for longer periods of time. A poor-quality tuning head will be unable to maintain the tune for much time, thus, interfering with playability.
In addition, high-end guitars simply feel better when playing them. Usually, builders at higher price points have more budget to focus on ergonomics.
The very fact that the instrument feels good makes it easier to dominate.
Lastly, another detail to consider is that expensive guitars sound better, or at least, provide a better sound quality compared to other instruments.
It seems unimportant, but on some occasions, how a guitar sounds can give the impression that the guitar is either easier or more difficult to play.
More specifically, one may believe that, because the guitar sounds “better”, the instrument is easier to play. This, of course, it’s just a matter of perception, not a fact.
Why expensive guitars are really not that much easier to play
We have mentioned some relevant factors that make expensive guitars easier to play.
Now, forget everything you have read above. It’s an order!
After all, are those characteristics actually a guarantee of anything?
Well, for some, it is. And sure, the attributes enumerated affect playability one way or another.
But in reality, the playability lies in the player’s abilities. Good guitarists make any guitar sound good.
It’s common to say among guitarists that “tone is in the fingers”.
So, these features should be related more to “comfort” than simplicity.
Remember, guitars won’t play for you. You are in charge of playing and deciding which guitar fits you better.
What are the advantages of an easier-to-play guitar?
A guitar that is easier to play has some advantages for the player.
First, you can make the instrument sound better. If you have better control over it, then you can make it sound better.
Plus, you’ll experience less hand fatigue. This is important because cramped hands make playing way more difficult.
Let’s not forget, that easier-to-play guitars might be the top choice for beginner guitarists. After all, there is always some friction whenever a new player starts with an instrument.
If on top of that, the instrument is harder to play, the friction will be higher.
Therefore, the newer guitarists could consider this characteristic as an advantage.
Is the difference in playability worth the price difference?
No wonder price defines whether or not we purchase an instrument.
Not everybody has the budget to pay for an expensive guitar, which leads to plenty of musicians buying used guitars or more economical ones.
However, there is a group that prefers spending more in exchange for a superior guitar.
For some, the goal is getting a guitar that is easier to play. For others, it is just a matter of sound or even looks.
All things considered, the difference is worth paying only for those who believe it is. It depends solely on the guitarist’s opinion.
How can you make your cheaper guitar easier to play?
Now, you don’t have to buy an expensive guitar just because you want it to be easier to play.
Here are certain affordable ideas that will make the task simpler:
- Strings: get light gauge strings (or thinner strings). They are easier to hold down. Also, changing old strings for newer ones makes a difference as well.
- Adjust action: this tip is only for experts. If you are not one of them, take the guitar to a luthier.
- Clean the fretboard: the fingerboard collects dirt, which affects the string contact with it, which affect playability and sound. Clean it every now and then.
- The pick: if you find it too hard to get used to finger playing style, try switching to a pick. Also, a quality guitar pick makes playing easier.
Remember, everything depends on the taste of the guitarist.
And most importantly, if you find playing too difficult, don’t despair. Practice is the solution.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.