How do you evaluate an electric before plugging in?

Twang!

Member
Messages
287
Feel of the neck, check fit and finish. Look for string spacing and straight fretboard. Strum a couple chords and feel the headstock to see how it vibrates and sustains. I usually know what feels right in my hands. Couple of minutes I can say a maybe yes or definitely no.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,995
Like a new pair of shoes, I kinda know in the first few seconds if there's a feel fit. I feel the neck profile/radius top to bottom, look at the quality & feel of the fretwork and the general quality of the build/assembly/finish, and play a few chords/notes up & down the neck to check the relative livelyness of the wood. I don't care for a guitar that's too plinky or too alive...these go back to the rack. Then, if it passes the previous tests, I plug in for the voice audition.
 
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TwangAddict

Member
Messages
380
Neck feeling. If this isn't comfortable to you, no matter how pretty looks, or how good it sound... you're gonna ended selling it soon.
 

Dereksslide

Member
Messages
3,298
I only every play electrics unplugged in shops these days. If I was going to buy one I'd bring my own amp in to test it.

Check the neck for feel, how it sits when seated, general fit and finish, quality of mechanical parts, saddles and nut.
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
I can tell in 10-15 seconds if I will like it.

The way the strings feel, how it resonantes, if it feels "alive"
 

CubanB

Member
Messages
2,148
You can just feel in your hands when something is right or not.. and without the amp really isolates the guitar itself and doesn't let the loudness or feel from the amp cloud anything. The neck is the main thing I guess, like others have said. Gas-man sort of summed it up though, it doesn't take long. Unless checking for the minor things like dead spots or weird resonances on certain frets, otherwise it's a pretty quick thing.
 

ggwwbb

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,603
For me I check the feel of the neck and how it rings out acoustically
 

Frome

Member
Messages
654
To CubanB's point, unplugged you are able to truly evaluate just the guitar, free from the influence of an amp. I spend more time with it that way than plugged. You can pretty quickly determine if it has the resonance you want or if it's dead/flat sounding. I can pay more attention to the feel when I'm not worried about fooling with an amp. In fact I bought a CS 65 Strat recently without plugging it in at all and it has become my main player.
 

Dale

Member
Messages
10,312
Neck. Is it straight and level? Fretwire seem OK? Fret sprout. Any odd feel to pots or switches? How does it feel in my hands?
 
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JWDubois

Member
Messages
7,934
Like everyone else, I focus on the neck at first.

One other thing I do is press the upper body horn to my ear and pluck the low E string, so I can hear the sound of the body. If it has a good clear piano tone it will be a good guitar for me. If it's muddy or tinny, it won't. Very few guitars pass this test for me. This works for basses too.

I do get strange looks when I do this, though.
 

Multicellular

Member
Messages
7,878
Pick it up shake it to see if anything falls off.

Check the neck relief.

That's it.

If it is a semi, chambered, or hollow, i will listen to it unplugged. Makes such a small difference with a solid, I dont even..
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
6,938
Just the neck, the fretwork, and how the guitar balances. There's no point in playing it unplugged, as I don't buy my electrics based on how they sound without an amp. Even a fully-hollow archtop can be acoustically dead and sound marvelous through an amp.
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
I can tell in 10-15 seconds if I will like it.

The way the strings feel, how it resonates, if it feels "alive"
That's about it. I just "know" pretty much instantaneously.

I don't have a check list or anything like that.
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,920
Neck profile and body resonance.

Assuming it is a color I am willing to pick up.... Can't do blue guitars for some reason.
 

Progbusters

Member
Messages
983
Well if the hipster kiddies are not banging away on the line6 amps, i'll see if it plays well in my hands and can hear it acoustically. I'll inspect the neck if the strings are aligned, if the neck is warped, if it can keep tune, the entire setup.
 




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