The World’s Most Playable Beginner’s Guitar?
Finding guitar playing difficult? Maybe Epiphone can help…
Learning and playing guitar, particularly an acoustic guitar, can be a real challenge. It’s tough on the fingers and can very quickly begin to feel like a massive struggle with little or no progress to show for your effort (we know, we’ve been there too). If you aren’t determined to persevere and push through these initial difficulties it’s all too easy to close the guitar case forever, as many people do. This is a fact that Epiphone’s Research and Development department understand and have decided to tackle head on. According to their research only 20% of people continue to play after first attempting the instrument, so they decided to look at why that was.
No Pain, More Gain
Their research found that the number one cause of giving up was pain. Specifically in the fretting hand fingertips so it made sense to develop a guitar that would counteract as much of that as possible. This lead them to design a new guitar, the Epiphone PRO-1 PLUS, with a new neck profile, which they call…The EZ-Profile. The EZ-Profile has been designed to reduce the fatigue on fretting fingers due to its slimmer profile. The frets have also been redesigned, making them as wide as possible. Therefore, easier to play.
But they haven’t stopped there….they have also produced a fingerboard and string lubricant to reduce the wear on fingertips. This is in addition to some ultra-light gauge acoustic guitar strings that make for easier fretting and less friction. At this point seasoned players might be thinking “hey, the pain was a right-of-passage” or “you have to pay your dues” and we’d agree with you to a point. However, if these products get more people into music, that’s the point isn’t it?
Taking a closer look at the ergonomics of guitar playing they decided to use a shorter scale length on the guitar. The aim being to make the strings easier to fret (less tension on those ultra-light strings). The tuners have also been made “ear-friendly”, with a new fine tuning gear ratio of 18:1. The nut and saddle are made from Nubone, which we think produces a great tone and offers fantastic durability.
The body has been made thinner for comfort and has a sealed inside to protect it from the environment. This means that strumming along at the “outdoor event of your choice” shouldn’t unduly worry the guitar too much. One of the things we really like is the string-thru design bridge which means no more faffing with saddle pins when changing strings, another annoyance to beginners.
Many of us “old sweats” started playing on school-owned nylon strung monstrosities which were finger-snappingly difficult to play. This is another fact the Epiphone have picked up on and have decided to address with their PRO-1 Classic, which promises all the features of the Steel-strung PRO-1 Guitar but this time in Nylon-strung form.
Those looking to progress a little further (or looking for more features from the start) will be able to grab a PRO-1 with a Solid Spruce top for improved tonal quality and also electro acoustic versions: the PRO-1 Plus and the PRO-1 Ultra respectively.
Proof’s in the Playing
It will be incredibly interesting to see how much of a difference this all makes to beginners. It’s often very difficult for a player who has played all their life to test how easy a guitar is to play from a beginners perspective, given that most modern guitar construction is pretty excellent – even at the budget end of the market. We really hope it all helps though and that “the best instrument in the world, ever” has even more devotees as the years roll on.