Chords that don't sound great on electrics but do on acoustics, & vice versa?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by RoscoeElegante, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    (Changed the original thread title, FWIW.)

    Even with all the tones and tools available to put electrics into near-acoustic sounds and to color acoustic sounds with electric guitar qualities, are there chords that just sound better on an electric than on an acoustic, and vice versa, to you?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  2. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    I think the Hendrix chord sounds much better on electric than acoustic.
    Same with a lot of power chords.
     
  3. GoldDeluxe5E3

    GoldDeluxe5E3 Tele-Holic

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    E A E A B E
    The Trower Chord
     
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  4. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    No.
    It depends on 1) tuning stability and 2) musical application.
     
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  5. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    Nope. A chord is a chord. Intonation issues not withstanding.
     
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  6. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    My yammy acoustic is very boomy, so strummed and muted 5ths actually sound pretty cool on it. However, it doesn't translate to a piezo. You have to be in ear-shot, or it has to be mic'ed to work.

    ANY acoustic plugged in will sound awful with power chords. It's just the way it is. Not just bad, but gawdawful. Cowboy chords are only marginally better. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate acoustic pick-ups?
     
  7. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Sometimes chords with open strings sound better on an electric because the fretted notes have better sustain. Sometimes chords strummed across all six strings sound muddy on an electric but can be heard with clarity on an acoustic. I play both. I play mostly the same songs on both. I play them a little differently on an electric and an acoustic because of the subtleties and nuances of the instruments. Is one better than the other? They’ve just different, but in a good way.
     
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  8. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Meister

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    I never thought about it this way.

    However, I have a few songs that I have to play very differently if I am on acoustic vs electric.

    The chords are all the same, but the way I fret, pick, strum, mute is what I do differently. Most of the songs I play this way are in the key of E with 'cheater chords' (e.g. A/C# B/G#).

    With electric, I have to artificially make the notes decay faster. The tension is less noticeable on acoustic and I can let it ring out a lot more.
     
  9. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I haven't usually been crazy about barre chords on my acoustics. But that's probably more to do with the particular guitar than the chords.
     
  10. twangking

    twangking Tele-Afflicted

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    I haven't had this problem.
     
  11. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I don't know if I can say it's an electric/acoustic thing.

    I think there are some chords that sound bad on electric depending on the tone the electric guitar is setup for with the amp. More gain, fuzz, overdrive, etc.. and some of the big open chords start to break down. But again depends on how it's played. Bang an open chord and let it ring out on a gainy electric tone, that might be fine. Sit there and strum that same open chord many times in the bar the way you might on acoustic and it might sound bad.

    On acoustic I think almost everything sounds good but it's sometime hard to play some of them on some acoustic guitars. Barre chords further up the neck, etc...

    As I play more though more of these things seem to be doable.
     
  12. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I think a lot of this (where it's experienced) has to do with electrics being generally easier to set up and adjust, and whatever you do is more easily reversed than on an acoustic (turning saddle-adjustment screws vs. sanding down a bridge, etc.).
     
  13. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

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    I've always thought the open cowboy chords sound great on an acoustics but muddy and less pleasing on an electric.

    I figure its my lack of skill.
     
  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think guitars that produce more overtones can make complex chords sound more dissonant, or more clashy, if that makes sense.

    Archtops seem to do better with complex chords, but is that because I'm thinking more about jazz when i pick mine up? Notes on a archtop do seem to produce a stronger fundamental.
     
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  15. wtk0315

    wtk0315 Tele-Holic

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    I ran into this the other day. I wanted to practice the lead fills to "chasing that neon rainbow" so I attempted to play the rhythm/acoustic part in my looper using the cowboy chords. I was not impressed with the play back. It sounded boomy, with too much sustain. I'm going to have to figure out an arrangement that works with electric.
     
  16. Jimmy Dean

    Jimmy Dean Tele-Afflicted

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    Since I am not a finger picker, I play exactly the same on acoustic as I do on electric. Never gave it any thought before.
     
  17. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    Depends on how the amp is set. If you are using an overdriven amp, then chords with upper harmonics can sound very discordant on electric guitar. Power chords usually sound better with some extra distortion, but I love doubling harsh sounding power chords with acoustic guitars playing similar chords. Fingerstyle players seem to be able to go from acoustic to electric with less fanfare than plectrum players.

    Then why did chord maestro Ted Greene often play a Telecaster? He might answer that the solidbody doesn't color the sound as much as an archtop. Though he loved his Guild archtops, Ted mostly played older Telecasters. Many jazz players gravitated towards the archtop because it project a fuller tone than a flattop in the days before amplification. The archtop became the standard for jazz players when pickups were adapted to the body, but some of the best jazz tones I have ever heard emanate from a Telecaster.

    Ted playing solo at a wedding in the late 80's. He owned a bunch of old Telecasters. It's funny that he preferred the anonymity of teaching to only become a legend. He was really a great player though.

     
  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Here's a test chord. Arpeggio it and let it ring -- does it sound good?

    Bb Lydian: 685755
     
  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't know, but Ted could string up a broomstick and make music with it.
     
  20. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

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    I call that the "A Day In The Life" chord (A add9) - Beatles. Sounds great on both electric and acoustic.
     
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