With Left Hand Fingering.
playability of a guitar is more important for most styles of music
than many players realize.
On an acoustic steel string guitar the high 'E' string at the
first fret should probably be less than approximately a 32nd of an
inch above the fret and around an 8th of an inch at the twelfth
fret. The low 'E' bass string should be slightly higher above the
twelfth fret. These measurements vary according to the size of the
guitar, straightness of neck, and thickness of strings. Smaller
guitars with shorter string lengths require far less pressure to
hold a string down. Solid body electric guitars can have closer
action. For this system of jazz guitar improvisation, though
finger picking is recommended, flat picking may be more useful on
a solid body electric than on an acoustic guitar. Nylon guitars
are quite compatible with this system. Their strings may be
further from the frets than those of a steel string but they don't
require much pressure. However the greater distance between the
strings on a nylon guitar may cause difficulties with double
string fingering techniques for small hands.
If you are
shopping for a acoustic steel string guitar, take time to try as
many as you can with the most difficult techniques you can think
of. The 'action' (distance between the strings and the frets)
should be ideal if possible. A straight neck is necessary for
guitars do not always come from the factory with an optimal setup.
They vary and mostly by chance, some are delivered that are set up
quite well. That's why shopping around is important.
strings have adjustable truss rods that allow you to control the
neck precisely to compensate for the different pressures of
varying string gauges. The strings can also be raised and lowered
at each end to produce perfect action. Some guitar shops are
equipped for handling these adjustments and it may be advisable to
negotiate an adjustment at the time of purchase. If you are
in a real guitar shop you may find that many professionals take
pride in their craftsmanship and will have some degree of
appreciation for the fact that you know what you want.
Higher action can be preferable for strumming open string chords
loudly, but usually not for more intricate styles. Close action is
recommended for this system of improvisation.
If you love your guitar but it's hard to play, have the action
adjusted by someone who knows what they're doing and what you
want. A good setup makes a big difference for any style of music.