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Author Topic: PSA on buying acoustic guitars  (Read 262 times)

Offline Nigan

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PSA on buying acoustic guitars
« on: March 04, 2019, 02:22:15 AM »
Hello everyone,,
When you buy an acoustic guitar, there are four things that are often not considered by the customer. I thought it would be a good idea to highlight them.

The strings that are on the guitar when you try it out are likely the strings that the guitar was shipped with. If you're playing a taylor, they will be Elixirs, and will sound good even if they've been on the guitar for several weeks, even a month or two. If you're buying a CF Martin, a Gibson, a Breedlove, or any other guitar, the strings on the guitar in the showroom will most likely not be coated, and unless it is brand new out of the box, will not have the brightness and clarity of new strings. When considering one guitar over another, consider the strings. Likely, if you ask, the store you are buying from would be more than willing to throw in a set of your preferred strings when you buy the instrument, which brings me to my next point;

If the guitar you are buying doesn't have a strap button at the neck heel, if you're buying a higher-end guitar, the shop would probably be more than happy to install one for you at no charge. It is a 5-minute job and strap buttons are dirt cheap. They'll be happy to do it if it means sealing the deal on a nice instrument.

This is one that people don't really talk about; Consider the neck joint as well as the sound that your guitar will age into.
If you are buying a new solid-wood acoustic guitar, the instrument's sound will not have reached its full maturity. Over time, the way that you play will change the way that it sounds as the wood's flexibility settles into the vibration patterns you put through it. Over time, your acoustic will become louder, and gain more bass and midrange projection as well as high-end clarity. These tonal changes will be further accentuated depending on the neck joint of your guitar. Because the sound maturity, especially for the low-end depends heavily on the frequencies resonating through the wood as it ages, guitars with a traditional dovetail will gain these tonal structures more quickly than would a guitar with a bolt-on design. Gibson and Martin both build guitars with traditional dovetails, while Taylor builds guitars with bolt-on designs. (this is not to knock taylor. I think the brand makes fabulous instruments, especially for the modern player.) Guitars with a bolt-on design will continue to sound closer to the way that they sound off the wall for a longer period of time. The advantage to bolt-on neck guitars is, obviously, ease of maintenance, as well as a lower repair cost. I have found Taylor's bolt-on neck joints as well as their overall quality to be very precise, which is one of the reasons why their guitars are so popular.

This brings me to my final point; When you are playing an acoustic guitar, you are not able to hear the way that it really sounds. This is because low frequencies are omnidirectional and high frequencies are unidirectional. The sound, which is being projected from the top of the guitar, will sound to the player much darker and deeper than it will to the audience. It is important to hear somebody else play the guitar in the room to decide which guitar you like the sound of best. I've personally found that many players enjoy the brightness Taylors when they are playing them, but in the room find them to be more brittle. Contrarily, I've found that some players who enjoy the brightness of a Martin 000 shape when playing find that in the room, they would much prefer a Taylor GS shape because of its added projection. Of course, the most important thing about a guitar is that you are happy with the way that it looks, feels, and sounds. Many players I know (as well as myself) do much of their writing on an acoustic, and this is by far a more creative process when the player feels a personal connection to the instrument. Just remember that nobody can tell you what the right guitar for you is other than yourself. We can all make suggestions to one another, but ultimately, especially with acoustic guitars, these decisions end up being very personal.
I hope this post is useful to some who might be thinking about buying an acoustic! Feel free to PM me if you've got any more questions. I work at a guitar store and am very familiar with most of the models of most brands.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 11:02:59 PM by Nigan »