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2/19/08

BUYING A GREAT GUITAR

by Don Dawn
When it comes time to buy a guitar, a person should shop carefully as they will want to choose a guitar that is going to last for a long time and have a great sound. Careful inspection of the guitar is of key importance to make sure that it is in great shape. Whether you are buying a new factory-made one, a handmade guitar, or a second-hand one, choose wisely and use good judgment.

Before actually shopping for the guitar, decide whether a brand new guitar or an older used instrument is right for you. New guitars come with a warranty so if there is a problem, they can be returned or refunded. Mass-produced guitars are less expensive than custom-made ones. If a person is just learning guitar, then a new, mass-produced one is a great choice. If the person is an accomplished player and can distinguish superior sound quality, consider spending a bit more money and purchase a custom guitar or one that has been handmade.

Sound Quality

Probably one of the first considerations when choosing a guitar is the quality of sound that the instrument produces. If you are not a person that can determine tone and good sound from bad sound yourself, ask someone at the store or have a musician or friend that is musically knowledgeable go with you. Watch for guitars that need to be tuned frequently, as this indicates that the sound quality will not be consistent. Make sure that there is a warm tone or sound when the guitar is played and that it does not sound harsh. Again, if you don't know how to play bring someone with you that does or talk to the staff at the store and ask them to play for you.

Condition

One of the next considerations should be the actual physical condition of the guitar. New guitars will usually be in better condition than used guitars, but some people have carefully maintained their instruments and they may be in as good of condition as the new ones for much less cost. Watch for the condition of the frets, they should be set-up properly and not too high or worn down, as this will cause tonal variations and difficulty in chording and playing.

Avoid guitars that are laminated, as they tend to look worn and used very quickly if the laminate becomes chipped or scratched. The neck should be absolutely straight with no warping or bending of any kind. The machine heads should turn smoothly and without sticking or stripping. Make sure that they actually tighten and loosen the strings correctly or it will be impossible to tune the guitar.

Remember that a guitar is an instrument that develops character and will only improve with playing and age. Try to pick a guitar that is in the best possible condition for the price that you are able to pay to ensure that the instrument will be usable for many years to come.

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