I hear that you should always try an electric guitar unplugged to get a sense for its sound. How does an electric's unplugged sound relate to its amplified sound? What should I look for? And in loud music stores, how should I go about doing this?

hearing an electric guitar unplugged gives you an idea of the personality of the guitar, and how it functions as a whole, like the body resonating and everything...

testing a guitar through an amp colors the sounds, which is what an amp is supposed to do... a great guitar on a crappy amp is still gonna sound crappy and visa versa.

this relates to the amplified sound bythe resonation and stuff like that. it's also supposed to sound independent of the pickups in the guitar, because those can be changed.

maybe go in the acoustic room in GC with an electric
My Guitars:
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Epiphone AJ
Ibanez Strat Copy

Orange Tiny Terror Head
Old beaten up Peavey cab
Marshall MG30DFX
You should look to make sure that it sustains pretty long, and that the body vibrates/resonates a lot. Also make sure there's not too much fretbuzz, and look for the easiest to play guitar that you can find.

The reason to play it unplugged, is that sometimes you can find inexpensive guitars that have good woods and quality, but the electronics might need to be replaced to get a better amplified sound.

It is somewhat hard to see the unplugged sound in a large music store, so see if you can find a secluded area to hear your self, but if you can't, then I would play the guitar through a amp set with no distortion and see if you like it.

edit: haha i posted pretty much the same thing as the guy above me, didn't see his post lol
I believe there is actually some truth to that. Certain guitars have better acoustic properties than others. While this adds slightly to the overall tone, I think it really has more to do with the sustain.

The things I look for are generally volume and body resonance.

A great example is the EJ sig Strat. Every single one that I have played has had beautiful acoustics to them. You can actually feel the body vibrating, much like on a true acoustic.
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