Whether you are a beginner, have been playing for many years, or anywhere in between; you need to find the right guitar for you. There are many different factors that can determine the right guitar for YOU. What kind of music are you interested in? This can be the difference of suggesting a steel string or nylon string (classical) guitar. Being an experienced player can really narrow the selection down and really get into the realm of specifications.
When I’m picking up a guitar for the first time I look at a few things:
- How is the weight of the guitar?
- What is the string height off the fretboard?
- Do the strings have proper intonation, are they in tune?
- How does the neck feel, smooth / rough?
- Are the frets smooth with the neck?
- Do the volume and tone knobs work properly?
- Does the output work?
All of these factors can really determine if the guitar in front of you is for YOU.
String height (action) can be paramount in conjunction to the intonation. The string height will make the strings easier to play on the fretboard. String height can really tell a lot about the quality of the guitar itself. High action generally means it is a lesser expensive guitar or hasn’t been taken care of very well, but work can be done on a guitar like this to make it a decent player again. I can say from my experience that I like playing a low action guitar. The strings may rattle a little acoustically, but that rattle, in most cases, won’t transfer to the amp.
Intonation will keep the same scale from the 1st fret to the 12th fret and from the 12th fret to the 24th fret. Intonation really comes into play once you have your basic chord structures down and have a handle on scales up and down the neck. Talking about getting around the neck; the frets need to be smooth, on the side of the neck, so that there is no type of friction when going through scales or chord progressions. A fast neck is a thing of beauty and should be sought after.
Having awesome pickups in your guitar will produce a better signal output and that goes for any guitar. I’m not saying to go out and buy $300 pickups and put them in your Squier Strat. At that point you’re better off just buying a higher end used Epiphone or MIM Fender that already has decent pickups installed for $300. Already have a nice guitar and like the playability, but just looking for a different sound? Watching videos of what different pickups sound like in your particular guitar can go a long way in determining what sound you are trying to capture. This same method is how I determine what pedals I choose.
Last but not least, test the guitar. I’m a strong advocate for playing the guitar you are going to buy. I’m not a point, click, and order my guitar online person. What happens when you get the guitar shipped to you and something isn’t up to spec? Whether the neck is bowed or there wasn’t a set up done on the guitar, this can really put a damper on your mood and your experience with guitars. Most local guitar shops, Record Head included, will offer a free set up for you when you purchase a guitar through them.
Here at Record Head we will try and find the best fit for whatever your need of guitar is. From first timer to the experienced player, we have what you are looking for and will do our best to get you the gear you need. Come on in or give us a call, so we can get the right guitar into your hands.
Thanks for the read and be sure to follow up with future post on musical gear, stereo equipment, video games, and DVD/CD media content.