Guide to buying a guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Texas_Blues, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Texas_Blues

    Texas_Blues Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    South Texas
    I noticed when checking out guitars I always go buy some rules, like check every fret to make sure theres no dead frets, tone etc...

    What are your rules for buying a guitar?
  2. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Get a cloth and clean it. You will notice small details you would miss otherwise in fit and finish, fretwork etc. Then make sure it is in tune befoe you play it, and not a staff "i tune by ear all teh time, so I'm good at it " tune either.
  3. brad347

    brad347 Member

    Feb 8, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think for starters it's good to know what you're willing to accept and what you're not. It takes an experienced hand to know what types of playability problems can be corrected with a good setup, and which ones will require new frets, nut, etc.

    Basically, scratchy pots, switches, etc do not affect my decision to buy. Neither do cosmetic issues unless they drastically affect the value and should-be asking price of the instrument (or make it too ugly haha).

    Anything that's easily repaired or adjusted, no big deal.

    I mainly look for vibe and if it has that sound-- basically, do I connect with it. A fixer-upper is okay as long as the instrument overall really speaks to the player (in my opinion).

    This is of course thinking about vintage/used instruments. For new guitars, little QC things would steer me away. Why pay brand new price for a fixer-upper guitar? It would have to be something really special to make me tolerate minor 'issues' with a new guitar.

    Basically I think of it kind of like adopting a new pet. You spend time with it and if you bond with it, that's what matters most, barring some serious health issue that's going to cost hundreds or thousands to address. If you really love a dog at the shelter but it has a broken leg, you take the little guy home and get his leg set and live happily ever after when he heals.
  4. scanlory

    scanlory Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    x100. I take a tuner with me, just because that drives me crazy when they try to ear tune it.
  5. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    The first area I always look at deals with the neck. First I check to see if there is any detectable twist. Next I check the string alignment down the fret board. If the nut is cut right, yet the strings run noticeably closer to one side or the other nearer the opposite end, it may warn of a neck that's misaligned or a bridge that's incorrectly drilled. Of course, it could also be something minor like improperly notched saddles, but I always check it out thoroughly.
  6. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    I always play them unplugged first. I know, they won't sound the same when you plug them into an amp. But it needs to have a good vibe unplugged, or I don't want to play it.
  7. rickboot

    rickboot Member

    Nov 19, 2004
    Bay Area
    Making sure it is tuned to concert pitch can be important. I have played guitars that seemed easy to play because they were tuned a little low.

    Another tip: hide your new guitar it from your wife for the first month until you can claim you've had had that guitar for a while.

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