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Buying a Guitar? Consider the Facts

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Music

Buying a Guitar? Consider the Facts

So, you have finally decided to buy a guitar that you always wanted. Fine, no problem, but do you know the basics? Have you considered that there are many fine points in choosing an instrument that is exactly right for you? Or do you think that all guitars in the world are premium instruments tuned to make yourself sound like the next Django Reinhardt? If that's what you think, then man, are you all wrong. I have seen my share of bad instruments and, if you continue in this line for some time, rest assured that you will see your share too. There are instruments that play like the most horrible dirge and then, there are those that sound like knife through butter, as smooth as a breezy whisper.

So you must know how to defend yourself against those bad guitars that are just waiting to catch you unaware. For all I know, you might be going for the first ever guitar of your life. Maybe you haven't even handled one before. And that leaves you rather under-qualified for choosing the right thing for yourself.

They say that looks are deceptive. And what they say is true. Because, as you will discover, the best looking guitars are not always the best sounding ones. People who would sell you a piece of trash must ensure that it is attractive-looking trash otherwise how can they get their hands on your money? And thus, often the best looking stunner of a guitar lying there on the shelf in front of you is the worst, crassest sound machine you will ever come across!

The best thing that you can do is, of course, take along an expert with you when you go to buy the guitar. He or she will tell you exactly which you should buy. There are lots of different parameters for measuring the quality of a guitar. You need to pay attention to each and every component like the fret board, the sound box, tuners, strings, a number of other contraptions. If the instrument must play well, it has to do so in a harmonic fashion, which means that all the different components must play their own parts to perfection. And that is where a pro will come in handy. He or she will be able to tell you in exact terms the good and bad points of a certain instrument.

Suppose a guitars fret board is set all wrong. If you are a novice, chances are that you will never notice the difference. If you have played a little but cannot make the harmonics sound perfectly even in a good fret, you might get a guitar slightly off tune and not know it until you really learn to play. The action, which is the height of the strings from the fret board, might prove to be too high for your comfort. But if you are a novice, you would probably not even know the difference until it's too late for a refund.

Also, you must decide upon what kind of guitar you want to play. Will it be a flamenco? Or are you the metal type of personality? The trick is to always be ready with proper research before you actually land in the local musical shop and get spoilt for choice.