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Guitars Made For Fast Playing

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Postby kyoun1e » February 15th, 2005, 10:07 am

I keep hearing people on various boards referring to guitars as "fast" and that the neck is "real thin and playable" and "shredable."

Now I know, I know, speed and being able to play fast is up to the individual, but what guitars out there are built specifically for fast playing, technically proficient players? What is it fundamentally that makes them the perfect fit for this type of player?

I'm talking guitars that your speed metal players flock to.

At guitar center the other day, a guy there was telling me that Jackson and ESP fit into this category along with the guys that played these guitars like R. Rhoads, K. Hammett, and G. Lynch.

I'd be interested in what people think here. I'm looking for a guitar that provides the best foundation for playing fast.

Thanks. KY
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Postby kyoun1e » February 15th, 2005, 10:44 am

So Ibanez with their Wizard necks = thin and Strats = fat?

KY
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Postby undercat » February 15th, 2005, 11:01 am

kyoun1e wrote:So Ibanez with their Wizard necks = thin and Strats = fat?

KY


Not exactly:

Ibanez = wide and flat
Fender = thin and rounded

And though there are some infamously technical players who play the Ibanez style guitars, don't be fooled into thinking that means it's truly the best for the style. Jeff Beck and Yngwie Malmsteen (sp?) are two notables who've found the strat well suited to their speedy needs.
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Postby NoteBoat » February 15th, 2005, 11:25 am

If all you're interested in is speed for lead playing, you'll want to look at scalloped necks.

It's the fret (not your finger) that produces a tone. Scalloped necks are designed so your fingers won't actually touch the fretboard - you're just touching the string enough to make the fret sound the note. Press too hard and you'll go sharp - because you'll be bending the string and raising the pitch - but if you spend the time getting used the light touch, there's no question you'll play faster.... your fingers will sort of 'dance' on the strings without wasting energy banging up against the fingerboard.

The downside is you'll never play rhythm guitar with one; things like barre chords will be virtually impossible to produce in tune when you have more than one finger pressing on a string.

So if you want to be a one-trick-pony like Yngwie (who uses a scalloped neck), try one out.
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Postby undercat » February 15th, 2005, 12:46 pm

Mirrow wrote:sorry but that is false. scalloped frets do absolutly nothing.... they are just for looks. "I like my scalloped frets because it feels more like a metal on metal instead of a metal on wood" -Yngwie Malmsteen (coming from a true noob). notice when you fret your strings, they never even touch the finger board. how many people do you know that use scalloped fingerboards? ill answer this for you... 2!


Go play one. You have no idea what you're talking about.
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Postby NoteBoat » February 15th, 2005, 12:58 pm

I appreciate your input. I don't play one, so maybe it IS false... but I'm going on a source I consider reliable:

On p. 186-188 of the Guitar Player Repair Guide is a discussion of the pros and cons of scalloped fingerboards. Here's a quote:

"...for the first time in my life, my fingering hand became so relaxed that I was able to play much faster and smoother..."

He goes on to say that while Yngie says it's harder to play fast with a scalloped fingerboard, the author (Pat Erlewine) has no idea why he says that.

I have an idea - Yngwie uses a fast neck. He'd love to have people think he doesn't, and that his chops are superhuman all by themselves. That means I'll trust what Erlewine says more than I trust what Malmsteen says.

You're right about one thing - not many people use scalloped fingerboards. That's because they're for one-trick-ponies, as I said. Most guitarists need to play chords once in a while.
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Postby undercat » February 15th, 2005, 1:07 pm

NoteBoat wrote:"...for the first time in my life, my fingering hand became so relaxed that I was able to play much faster and smoother..."


You need to play one to get the full effect, but yes, it's pretty striking. Imagine playing a guitar with no fretboard at all, just frets floating in the air, how hard would you press? Only and exactly hard enough to make a tone, and that's what happens.
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Postby kyoun1e » February 15th, 2005, 1:33 pm

I don't think I'm ready for a scalloped neck...although I'm not sure I understand what this is. I do like to play chords. What would be an example of a guitar with this setup?

Sounds to me that guitars ARE designed to play fast...whether that be with scalloped necks or thin/round necks. Yes?

Some Ibanez must fit into this group. Probalby the Via and Satriani models

Jacksons? ESPs?
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Postby ElPelotero » February 15th, 2005, 5:07 pm

i for one find a HUGE difference b/w when i play on my ESP Hmodel and when i play on my friends Epiphone Les Paul. HUGE difference. the ESP was definately designed with a soloist in mind and goes very well for chords. The Les Paul has very inaccesible upper frets and even the regular frets run very slow. I cant seem to solo well with it. My other friends strat is a little in between, but its definately better than the Les Paul. then again the day i played it it was very dirty, so the it was running rough. Strats ive played at stores run very smoothly. As do Ibanezes
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Postby Taso » February 15th, 2005, 8:06 pm

Yeah, Mirrow, we get it. Thanks.

That said, the best guitar for fast playing is-- just kidding.

Really while Mirrow is right to an extent, most players prefer a low action. This makes not only fast playin easier, but just playing in general. Again, most players, not all.

For what you want to do, I think I'd be comfortable recomending a guitar with a double cut (Think: Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster) as opposed to a single (think Gibson Lespaul). I have a Les Paul and it is more difficult to play higher up than the others (can't live without its tone, probaly should have gotten the Les Paul DC).

Again, this is for most players, a generlized statement, not for everyone. I'm sure theres maybe one player who finds it easier to play faster on a single cut.

Speed won't be about your guitar though. It's about you, practice the picking and the fretting. Master it on the guitar you have, and then get a scalloped neck (Kidding about the scalloped neck, not sure if it's good or not)
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