Author Topic: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store  (Read 1456 times)

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Offline severalservals

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Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« on: October 26, 2020, 05:29:16 pm »
Hi, all. I've been doing some research on buying a new guitar. One of the types I'm considering is the ES-335 family, as they're versatile and I like the sound on many of the ones I've heard. On YouTube channels, I've actually liked the sound on some the Epiphones best. However, a lot of people have described Epiphone quality as hit-or-miss and have advised caution when purchasing them. For an Epiphone (or any other guitar, for that matter), does anyone have any advice on how, when you're handling a guitar in-store, you can figure out if that particular instrument has any serious problems? Thanks much.

Offline flyingdutchman

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 06:55:31 pm »
There are people in this community who are way more experienced than me, but my only advice would be to test it in an isolated, soundproof environment, I think all guitar stores have it nowadays. Watching a youtube video and playing it yourself can make huge difference. Play something else from the store similar to your interests, that will give you chance to compare. And last but not least, do not forget, even though guitar store employees are not insurance salesman, they are still trying to sell stuff.

I hope you will get something you like

now I've got to look for
Sanctuary from the law

Offline close2u

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 07:11:55 pm »
Hello and welcome to the community.
What experience do you have with any electric guitars? What types?
A 335 style guitar is a great option for many people. They are versatile and fill many needs and cause desire a-plenty if you like the look etc.
Some don't like the bigger body size, some love it.
You need to hold one.

In general, things to be aware of when buying new ...

Rub your hand gently along the entire neck. You are checking by feel if any of the fret wires have been badly finished and have a sharp edge, sticky-out feel when moving along the neck.

Check the visual finish of the paint and the binding. Look for any blending or bleed of colour and finish. Look inside the F-holes as an indicator of the quality of finish.

Plug it in and listen.
You should play clean. You should be able to hear a marked tonal difference between the three pickup selections.
Roll the volume and tone knobs up full, down to 7, down to 4 etc. You should be able to hear a smooth change in sound. You don't want pots that act as binary on / off switches.

Check the action and intonation. These might not be perfect. But say, if the intonation is way out and the bridge saddles have been screwed all the way back with no more travel in them then the construction is bad and the guitar will never play well.

Play it unplugged. Does it ring out with clarity and volume, does it sound alive? That is an indicator of a good, well made guitar.

Offline severalservals

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 01:38:49 am »
Thanks very much. Those were some really concrete suggestions, just the sort I was looking for.

As far as experience, I tried learning guitar some years back on a pretty nice Taylor acoustic and a Yamaha Pacific 112, but gave up on it. A couple of months ago I happened into a Fender Modern Player Telecaster (the Chinese Fender - not sure if they even make them anymore) and Gretsch 2420 hollow body. I've been playing them both regularly ever since and have been following through Justin's online lessons.

I particularly like the Gretsch - it feels great to play, it's beautiful and it's handy that it sounds nice unplugged. I've been borrowing both instruments, and the good news is that the owner told me I could keep the Telecaster. Sadly for me, she'll be giving the Gretsch to her nephew. I was thinking of replacing it, just cause I've liked it so much, but I was considering semi-hollows as well, since they seem to have a more versatile sound.

Offline close2u

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 07:54:11 am »
What a fantastic friend to have, and what a couple of beauties to learn on.
A 335 and a Gretsch have some different breeding characteristics.
Your Gretsch may have been fully hollow, maybe had a Bigsby tremolo, may have had Filtertron style pickups.
A 335 is semi-hollow, mostly come with a fixed bridge (though some have Bigsby style, some have a trapeze tailpiece) and have humbucker pickups.
Good luck.
If you want any advice on specific models / guitars etc keep on asking.
:)


Offline DarrellW

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2020, 09:12:26 am »
You could also have a look at the Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin II, a bit more expensive but well worth the extra. One of the best of the 335 Epiphones is the Dot, it’s by far the best value and I’ve never heard any bad vibes about it!
Still here, still learning - no longer letting Fibromyalgia get in the way, it sucks but doesn’t have to mean your life stops!

Offline nigec

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2020, 10:25:57 am »
 yes the Dot seems very nice, I was watching reviews last night, and it seemed very close to the 3 grand Gibson
I have 2 chinese guitars, in a similar price range and they have been very good, if I was to nit pick the Hofner's pickguard is a bit erm naff and the Classic Vibe Strat's tone pot was pretty much useless, a friend had the exact same issue with his, but really easy fixes

Alter the Hofner I like the hollow body and I'm probably going to review what comes next, I had my sights set on a SG but the Dot maybe the direction I will go
Guitars:  Hofner Bass, Squier classic vibe Stratocaster; Fender look alike Jazz bass from a kit, Cigarbox 3 string, Uke, Mandolin and the devil loves a tryer!

Offline brianlarsen

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2020, 11:19:29 pm »
If you're thinking of a new 335 Dot, you might want to see if there are any 2nd hand Hagstrom Vikings available. I'm really happy with mine  :)



Offline CT

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2020, 02:41:08 am »
How do you judge quality in general? Guitars are really no different. You'll know it when you see it and when you play it/hear it. Take along an experienced player with you. Buy them a sandwich or something for their trouble. Personally, I'm all about value and bang for the buck.

Everyone is going to recommend the choices that they have made (I have Epiphone(2), Gretsch, Monoprice(2), Ovation and Yamaha guitars). They all have their place, they all make me smile. I probably play my Monoprice tele most of all (I bought it over the web sight unseen):



 

Offline batwoman

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Re: Tips for judging guitar quality in-store
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2020, 02:47:41 am »
Thanks Clint. I'm at the very beginning of my search for a guitar. Wanted to have few clues before I go to a store. It's easy to get sidetracked by the blah blah blah. I'm adding bits of info to my notes as I go.

Lovely to see and hear you playing in your lush paradise.
Walcott Custom OM Acoustic , G&L Tribute Fallout Electric, Crafter T035 OM Acoustic, Ashton Bass.

 

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