Guitars that sound awesome vs. guitars that play awesome

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Yer Blues, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    A guitar that plays awesome and sounds awesome is the ideal situation. But, what if you run across a guitar that sounds awesome, but doesn't play great? Or, a guitar that plays great, but doesn't sound awesome?

    Will you work with the guitar in either case? For example, if the guitar sounds awesome, but the neck is too big or small will you try to get use to it? If the guitar plays awesome, but doesn't sound great will you attempt to swap the pickups?

    In my case, I've stumbled upon a guitar that sounds awesome (PRS McCarty), but the neck is thicker than I prefer. Man.... it sounds good though. Maybe the thick neck also has something to do with why it sounds so good. :idea
     
  2. SmokeyTone

    SmokeyTone Member

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    Sounded good but didn't play well: RK telecaster. Neck was big and comfy, but once I played for more than 5 minutes my hands got cramped up because the neck was so big. Ended up flipping it because a neck change would just take away from the guitar and too much hassle. Pickups sounded great though.

    Played great but sounded like cheeks: My 2016 LP Standard. Plays nice with the slim 60's profile and asym neck. However the BB Pro's are just to harsh for my taste. A lot of ringing and buzzing overtones. People will say "That's what the tone knob is for" but truth be told I don't even touch any of the knobs I just play. Instead of changing the pups I will probably leave it stock and flip it.

    I like to give guitars a break in period. Sometimes I find if the playability is different it might take some time for my hands to adjust.
     
  3. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I can almost always make it play great too, but if it's just not going to happen due to neck shape or a fault etc, i will tend to not want to play it no matter the tone and usually end up selling it. I stick with the ones that do both well, anything else end up in craigslist. It's the ones that do both well that make you want to pick them up, nothing less will do as far as i'm concerned.
     
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  4. TTBZ

    TTBZ Member

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    I'd rather it played well. Chances are if it plays well you can make it sound good anyway.
     
  5. sshan25

    sshan25 Supporting Member

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    If my guitar doesn't play awesomely, I'm not going to pick it up so it doesn't really matter what it sounds like.
     
  6. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    That. With pickup and electronics changes I can make almost any guitar sound decent, and I can make any guitar set up properly with fretwork etc, but some guitars just "feel" right, and when they do, it's easier to get the sound right than to get a guitar that doesn't "feel" right to change, given the action is where I want it anyway. I measure action to within about .0025" on each string, and even with it set precisely and finding the string gauge that works with that instrument, some just 'feel right' and some just never will.
     
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  7. RRfireblade

    RRfireblade Member

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    I think it's easier to change play-ability than the core tone. I've yet to find an instrument that I can't make play exceptional but I believe that there are limits on how far one can alter the inherent, core tone of most guitars. Generally once you hear something you don't like, you can mask it or mod around it but that unsavory taste still seems to always be in there under all the salad dressing. ;)
     
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  8. monty

    monty Member

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    I agree. Lipstick on a pig and all that.
     
  9. bish0p34

    bish0p34 Member

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    This. I've let a lot of guitars go that just didn't do it all.

    To the OP, I've never found a PRS I liked. I'm not fond of their necks or their switching systems. The rotary knob, and the odd location of the switch do nothing for me.
     
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  10. Mikhael

    Mikhael Member

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    Years ago I bought a new Hamer Chaparral. It played super easy, and sounded balanced acoustically. But I didn't like the pickups, the switching arrangement, or the football jack. So I changed all that over the years, and replaced the Floyd with a Graphtech LB-63 Ghost bridge.

    Now it's my Number One guitar, and sees WAY more play time than any other.

    Moral? If it feels good, and sounds nice and balanced acoustically, then it will be a good guitar, since I can take care of the other stuff.
     
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  11. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    Neck has to feel great to me or I won't keep it.
     
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  12. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    The guitar doesn't play. I play it. If I can't play the darn thing, it doesn't matter what it's supposed to sound like because it's going to sound crappy anyway.
     
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  13. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

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    play it, you'll get used to it faster than you think if you love how it sounds!
     
  14. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    They are both related and important. What matters is how how it makes me feel when I pick it up and play it. Would not own a guitar deficient in either area.
     
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  15. e???

    e??? Member

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    I got a "53 one pickup 175 that sounds amazing. Can't get over that old p90 sound with a hollowbody. Never heard a guitar so LUSH. But i grew up on solid bodies (strats mostly) so a giant hollowbody isn't so natural. I'm working on getting used to it, cause I'm so in love with the sound, but it's just not as normal feeling, compared to grabbing a special or strat.
     
  16. Scuttlebutt

    Scuttlebutt Member

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    I also agree. I don't mind working on changes in my technique to suit a guitar with fantastic tone, but working on a guitar's tone to fit my technique is a rabbit hole I'm not willing to sink my time into.
     
  17. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    My guitars have to do both (and they do). I will compromise in terms of setup though. I find having the action a bit higher sounds best even though it is initially not as easy to play. Nothing I can't get used to. But if a guitar has a neck carve I don't like or the balance is off (for instance, I don't get along with Firebird/Explorer shapes), then forget it.
    -
    Austin
     
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  18. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    That's certainly possible... haha.

    I have 2 PRS and the necks are different and neither have the rotary knob. Actually, the other guitar that has been my main guitar for the last 1.5 years has been a PRS CE-22 or a Highway One Tele. The Tele is a C shaped neck and the CE differs from the McCarty as the neck is thinner and a bolt on. It's a little more "snappy" in sound and response, but the McCarty has more "meat" and sustain to it.

    Maybe it's just getting use to a new guitar. I actually got the McCarty prior to the CE, but at the time I was playing the Tele almost exclusively... it was so different I stuck with the Tele and happened on the CE by chance. I actually purchased a "nicer" (more expensive) Tele, but I ended up preferring the highway one by far.
     
  19. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Member

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    If it doesn't play right for me (narrow nut, etc) it would be a deal-breaker right away. I can play it, of course, but I'm not interested in owning it. There's a pretty broad range of tone I like, but if I just wasn't happy with how it sounded I would get rid of it. Life's too short, space is too short. I don't need to own more guitars.

    It's hard to tell from specs, though. Some guitars with bigger necks feel great to me, and some guitars with thinner necks feel great, I generally don't like jumbo frets but I've played some guitars w/ jumbo frets that were awesome. I really have to have it in my hands.
     
  20. cap10kirk

    cap10kirk Member

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    I don't care how it sounds, I change the pups and all the wiring in most of my guitars anyways. But if it doesn't play good, or has the wrong neck profile, I won't buy it.
     

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