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Finding "the one" in-person vs "Buying a guitar online and adapating to it"

beeswax75

Member
Messages
527
Hey all.

I firmly fall into the latter category. Can adapt to almost any guitar. Bought all my current electric guitars (6) online, despite having access to some awesome shops. I've never played anything in those shops that was noticeably better than anything I got randomly online. Starting to wonder if I'm not sensitive to these things or just missing something.

I made a thread about LPs yesterday, and everyone said to play before buying. Starting to wonder if this has all been a huge, costly mistake and I should own way better instruments for the money spent. Lol...? :/

Thoughts? Anyone else adapt to whatever they're handed?

What's funnier is the three electric guitars I bought in person over the years all have been sold over time without much thought...
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,307
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Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,225
I’m neither. I’ve certainly bought excellent guitars from online, but I already knew I liked that model, or that neck profile, etc. from previous experience.

But my “The Ones” are all custom and in most cases I had not owned any from that builder before.
 

JSutter

Member
Messages
251
I tried almost every $200-500 acoustic at a local shop. I picked what sounded the best to me, a Taylor 110e. My drummer brought over his Epiphone cheapy (with a headstock he broke and fixed BTW) and they played and sounded about the same. Oh well.

I have one electric where I tried several similar ones. I loved it then, now I don't play it. It just sounds weak compared to my others. The rest are random and bought/traded on a whim. I like them all for different reasons. The biggest differences are the scale length and neck joints. I have no problem adapting to each.
 

Bunther

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
587
About 20 yrs ago I bought a fantastic Fender 52 RI Tele from Music One in Kalispell, MT. They were a Gold Fender dealer. That meant they inspected their shipments and returned the guitars that didn’t meet their standards. I was in Houston. I had a couple phone conversations with Larry Miletich (an owner) so he knew exactly what I wanted. In my case tone and playing comfort were more important than perfect grain. Well, Larry sent me the perfect guitar. Maybe you can find a dealer like Music One for the brand you want.
 

Mpcoluv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,204
with the demise of a bunch of brick and mortar stores, Sheri g through a bunch of guitars is Not that feasible. Buying online or going to guitar shows are about it.
 

beeswax75

Member
Messages
527
with the demise of a bunch of brick and mortar stores, Sheri g through a bunch of guitars is Not that feasible. Buying online or going to guitar shows are about it.
True. I'm lucky enough to live near a major boutique type store. I've gone there several times, and only one guitar in that shop ever felt better than something I bought online. Unfortunately it was butt ugly baby blue!
 

Otter351

Member
Messages
508
I don't see how anyone could possibly find "the one" after playing it for 15 minutes through an unfamiliar amp in the middle of a giant music store. I can certainly find the best guitar in the store, but I won't know if it's a keeper until I've had it a few months.

I married my wife after dating her for a few years. Some guitars I've owned have taken longer to figure out if they're keepers
 

beeswax75

Member
Messages
527
I don't see how anyone could possibly find "the one" after playing it for 15 minutes through an unfamiliar amp in the middle of a giant music store.
Great point. I'd guess a lot has to do with neck feel. I know what type of neck profile I like, which is maybe why I do okay online.
 

budglo58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,395
I don't see how anyone could possibly find "the one" after playing it for 15 minutes through an unfamiliar amp in the middle of a giant music store. I can certainly find the best guitar in the store, but I won't know if it's a keeper until I've had it a few months.

I married my wife after dating her for a few years. Some guitars I've owned have taken longer to figure out if they're keepers
Agreed . I usually have to take it home, set it up and see how it goes.
 

Morpeli

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
442
Hey all.

I firmly fall into the latter category. Can adapt to almost any guitar. Bought all my current electric guitars (6) online, despite having access to some awesome shops. I've never played anything in those shops that was noticeably better than anything I got randomly online. Starting to wonder if I'm not sensitive to these things or just missing something.

I made a thread about LPs yesterday, and everyone said to play before buying. Starting to wonder if this has all been a huge, costly mistake and I should own way better instruments for the money spent. Lol...? :/

Thoughts? Anyone else adapt to whatever they're handed?

What's funnier is the three electric guitars I bought in person over the years all have been sold over time without much thought...
I think the issue with LPs is that with guitars made a few years ago, sometimes their quality control is not always up to scratch, so it's possible to get one that has quality issues. So if you buy one online, you won't find out about the quality issues until it arrives.
 

SWEENEY

Member
Messages
312
I went to a Sam Ash/GC type store, years ago. I played as many of the Les Pauls as I could. Maybe 12-15 guitars. Most were Standards and a few Historics.
2 of them stood out in a BIG way. Played like butter, sounded way better than the others, immediately and without question. Even my friend that doesn't play noticed.

I don't know what adjective to use, but if you place an unamplified Les Paul on one end of the scale, and 12 string acoustic on the other that would be the continuum. I would guess "complexity" might be the best word.

Unfortunately, I couldn't buy any of them. So I can't say the standouts were keepers, But it wasn't a minor difference, it seemed obvious to me at least.
 

CaptNasty

Member
Messages
776
Sure, I can adapt to different instruments and be just as effective. But... there are just some guitars that I find really enjoyable to play.

Think there is a third category that you missed: adapt the guitar to you. That means spending some time experimenting to figure out the guitar and your setup on it. It can also mean doing some upgrades to the guitar. In other cases it could mean getting some work done to the guitar.

As an example recently got a Charvel Model 6 that I bought after playing it in a store. It was in great condition but the setup was a mess, but I could tell it was all about the setup. There was a slight back bow, the action adjustment screws on the saddles (Kahler 2300 Cam Tremolo) were extended so far out that if you removed the strings they just fell off, in spite of the raised saddles the action was too low, and the nut was cut too low. It was not an enjoyable experience to play this guitar.

The bridge had been installed too low and the nut was crap. Added a spacer plate under the Kahler and crafted a new bone nut. Then setup relief, string spacing, action, pickup height, and finally intonation. It is now a very nice playing guitar, but it took quite a bit of assessment and work to turn the guitar into the player it is today.
 
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misterg71

The premier Hack Guitarist
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,480
I never try them out before buying, solely because I hardly ever go to music stores. Don’t believe I’ve been to one in over a year. I buy & sell quite a bit of gear, and have purchased many super nice guitars online. Trying to find “the one” in a shop while there’s a whole bunch of other guys/gals wanking away isn’t always going to produce the best results. The key is to find online sellers who allow returns. Worst case scenario, you may have to eat return shipping charges, or a small restocking fee. It’s kind of like renting a guitar.
 

Yamaha 1421

Member
Messages
1,088
I have bought almost all of my guitars online simply because many of them were far and away from where I live and they were/are so uncommon. I have had no disappointments...........................quite the opposite really they were even better. I researched each one getting all the specs and particulars then pulled the trigger. I would have missed MANY fine guitars had I just shopped local.
 
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Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,307
Hey all.

I firmly fall into the latter category. Can adapt to almost any guitar. Bought all my current electric guitars (6) online, despite having access to some awesome shops. I've never played anything in those shops that was noticeably better than anything I got randomly online. Starting to wonder if I'm not sensitive to these things or just missing something.

I made a thread about LPs yesterday, and everyone said to play before buying. Starting to wonder if this has all been a huge, costly mistake and I should own way better instruments for the money spent. Lol...? :/

Thoughts? Anyone else adapt to whatever they're handed?

What's funnier is the three electric guitars I bought in person over the years all have been sold over time without much thought...
About 20 yrs ago I bought a fantastic Fender 52 RI Tele from Music One in Kalispell, MT. They were a Gold Fender dealer. That meant they inspected their shipments and returned the guitars that didn’t meet their standards. I was in Houston. I had a couple phone conversations with Larry Miletich (an owner) so he knew exactly what I wanted. In my case tone and playing comfort were more important than perfect grain. Well, Larry sent me the perfect guitar. Maybe you can find a dealer like Music One for the brand you want.
in Kalispell Montana no less! :D
 

VintagePlayerStrat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,179
Hmm. I've found tone monsters online and by running the racks. In fact, my most two recently purchased guitars:

**1951 Gibson J-45 (bought from small vintage guitar shop online with 7-day return policy. Used them days to have it professionally assessed and to compare it to my best acoustic, a 2002 Gibson Songbird Deluxe that has consistently slayed plenty of banner J-45s and early '50s models. It passed the test and then some.)

**Brand New American Original 50s Strat (ran the racks and tried four of these before picking this particular one. Funny thing is, when I got it home to compare it to my other prized Strats, I was a little concerned. Despite it sounding the best in the stores, it was a little reedy at home. A string change to my gauge, set up and pickup height adjustment, and it was right up there slugging with the others.)

I suppose my point is both methods can find you the tones you want. Just don't get boxed in by online shops without return policies, and don't dismiss a guitar as unable to hang until you can properly dial it in.
 
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Messages
3,873
I own 7 electrics, but bought only one of them in person.

I’m kind of picky, maybe, but the stuff I’m picky about shows up in the specs. I’m more particular about color than fretboard radius, for example. I couldn’t tell you what size frets are on any of my guitars. As far as neck carves: I’ve got an Epiphone with a telephone pole and a Strat with a 10/56 on one extreme, and a Gibson Slim Taper at the other, and since I’ve been playing 09s on the Gibson, I don’t mind the thin neck.

But really, less than 9lbs, vibrato bridge, usually with a hot bridge pickup and a lower output at the neck. That’s the 5 of my 7 guitars and the 5 include a Superstrat with a Floyd and a semi with a Bigsby. My LP and Tele (the Telecaster is the one I played in store before buying) are the only two that don’t have vibrato bridges, so they’re the oddballs.

I can figure out whether it’s in the ballpark online, but as others have said, I’ve got to play it with my gear, set it up to my liking and string it with a fresh set up Super Slinkies before I can know whether it’s a keeper or not.

As for finding Number One? Six of seven have been Number One at some point. My Les Paul has been Number One several times, and several times, it’s been out of the rotation altogether.
 




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