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I think I don't know the title yet, anyone may edit that, please?

If you're playing an acoustic guitar (steel-string), with a big body, let's just say a Grand Auditorium model. You'll feel that the string will be a bit thick, the body will be thick.

In the next song, you must change into an electric guitar to get some distortion. For example a telecaster, with a thinner string, body, and smaller size.

How to adapt from that feeling, how can I comfortably play?

Thank you.

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You do not have to put up with an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar that feel very different if you don't want to. Here are some options.

Buy a different make and model of acoustic guitar and electric guitar to make the necks and other measurements as similar as possible between the two

Every guitar has certain measurements and parameters. If you are not familiar with these, you can look them up.

  • Scale length
  • Nut width at the neck
  • String spacing at the bridge
  • Neck thickness and shape (profile)
  • Fingerboard radius
  • String gauge
  • Action (string height)
  • Fret height and shape

These parameters are often very different between a certain model of acoustic guitar and a certain model of electric guitar.

However, you can look for and purchase electric and acoustic guitars that are as similar in parameters as you can make them. You can use the same gauge of strings on your acoustic guitar and your electric guitar, and have a repair technician give both instruments a set-up to optimize the intonation and action for the string gauges you choose.

However, you might want lighter strings on your electric guitar so you can bend string more easily for solos, and heavier strings on your acoustic guitar to get a richer tone; in that case you might change to one gauge lighter on your acoustic guitar and one gauge heavier on your electric guitar so they can be closer in feel but still suitable for different purposes.

You can order a custom replacement neck for a Telecaster or Stratocaster from a company like Warmoth that lets you choose each of the parameters above to match the feel that you want.

Acoustic-electric guitars that feel like regular electric guitars

There are acoustic-electric guitars with thinner bodies, thinner necks, and designed for use with lighter strings, specifically to appeal to players who mostly play electric guitar and want similar parameters and feel. Many manufacturers make these.

Fender makes the Kingman acoustic guitars line that essentially have an electric guitar neck, similar to a Stratocaster or Telecaster, bolted to a regular acoustic guitar body.

Godin makes the Multiac A line of acoustic-electric guitars with thin bodies and necks designed to feel exactly the same as a regular electric guitar such as a Telecaster or Stratocaster.

Or you can try to do without the acoustic guitar and use an electric guitar which has been designed or modified to emulate the sound of an acoustic guitar.

Electric Guitars with Piezoelectric Bridges

Many companies make piezoelectric pickups built into custom bridges with preamp kits for electric guitars that can be used to simulate the sound of an acoustic guitar. One example is the Fishman PowerBridge for Telecaster. You can buy an electric guitar with one of these bridges and preamps already installed, or you can retrofit this kit into a guitar that you already own.

Electric Guitars that use Physical Modeling to sound like an acoustic guitar

There are a few electric guitars with digital physical modeling sounds, such as the Line 6 Variax, which are designed to emulate the sounds of different kinds of electric guitars and acoustic guitars all in one instrument, so you never have to change guitars at all.

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I think it's more of getting really used to both guitars. So when eventually switch, the 2nd guitar would still feel comfortable because you are also used to that guitar. Keep playing! :)

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You could change the running order, so you don't chop and change. The change could happen after the interval, so you have time to acclimatise, or if there are more in the band, do a song that doesn't need you to play. Change instruments, and play, but don't amplify it for that number.Since you probably won't be using the same playing style on each, there shouldn't be a huge problem.

  • +1 for "do a song that doesn't need you to play." My biggest issue with changing instruments is not getting used to the second instrument, but paranoia that it will have gone out of tune / have the volume set wrong etc. – Level River St May 15 '14 at 22:19
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Depending on the time between songs, you can try to play without sound to get used to the new type of guitar before going "live". This obviously works best for moving from acoustic to electric...

You can try to change string gauges. If you have quite thin electric guitar strings and quite thick acoustic strings, there will be a bigger difference in the feeling.

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One piece of advice I can give you, is to be merciful to your fingers. :-)

Say you're first playing the electric guitar, and you know you'll be playing the acoustic guitar afterwards. Try to play the electric guitar lightly then, and don't stress your fingers too much, so that you'll be able to adapt to the high action and thick strings of your acoustic guitar. If your fingers are already stressed from playing the electric guitar, switching to the acoustic guitar can be quite painful.

Other than that, it is indeed a question of being used to both guitars. Spend time playing one guitar, then spend some time playing the other guitar on another day. Your fingers will get used to the different feelings of different guitars, and switching between guitars quickly will become easier.

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