#1
I just bought my first electric guitar and realized something very important. I dont even know enough to know if what I bought is a good product. How does one go about testing the quality of a guitar with basically no knowledge as to what it should be like? As much as I knew what to do was to tune it and to look for fret buzz(Which I had to good what it was). How do I take it from here to see if my guitar is indeed a good guitar?
#2
It's kind of hard if you are inexperienced.

Until you have learned some setup skills and what to look for it's difficult.

The price you paid or the model of the guitar is not necessarily indicative of a playable guitar so don't feel bad if you have a cheap guitar. It can be made very playable and be just fine.

Many problems on an electric guitar can be corrected just by basic adjustments. They are not really defects. It's like moving your car seat and adjusting the steering wheel for comfort.

Hardware can be replaced quite easily (but not always inexpensively) but it is usually not neccessary unless it is defective or breaks.

Some things that are real problems are...

uneven frets
twisted neck
sharp fret edges

Anything to do with the neck can be a bad situation. The neck is critical to the playability of a guitar. It is the most important thing on a guitar.

You should sight down the neck and see if it is twisted.
Play each fret and listen for dead frets, particularly on the frets above 12th fret.
Run your hand down the sides of the neck and check for sharp edges (easily fixed but not free)

Of course even frets can be fixed but it is expensive if you pay someone. You can fix it yourself but for a noob it is too difficult.

A good setup will enable your guitar play to its potential. Learn how to do it.

Good playing skills are the most important part of the equation so concentrate on playing. Put your money into lessons from the best teacher you can afford. A good player can make any decent guitar sound great. A lousy player sounds bad no matter what he plays.
Last edited by Virgman at Jan 20, 2015,
#3
I wouldn't call sharp fret ends a real problem, they often occur when the guitar wood drys a little in low humidity and the shrinkage exposes the fret ends. A good guitar tech can dress then down to flush for a small fee. (Happened over time on my 93 MIA Strat Plus when I moved from Ont to Alberta)
In all my years of playing I've yet to encounter a twisted neck but I have seen a friends Ibanez warp pretty bad. I suspect when you're buying new guitars under $250 you'll run into poorly seasoned/dried woods where this kind of crap can happen.
The other thing is if you're unsure you can get it checked out and setup by a tech but that's usually after you've already bought the guitar. If you're spending less than a couple of hundred on one you're less likely to be willing to spend the $50-75 on a pro setup as well.
There are good guitar repair and set up books you can buy for $20-30 that can help you. Beware simply trolling on the internet for this kind of information, there's a lot of misinformation out there! I saw one fellow demonstrating a strumming "technique" that involved swinging his strumming hand from his elbow!
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Jan 20, 2015,
#4
Quote by KenG
I wouldn't call sharp fret ends a real problem, they often occur when the guitar wood drys a little in low humidity and the shrinkage exposes the fret ends. A good guitar can dress then down to flush for a small fee.

"Run your hand down the sides of the neck and check for sharp edges (easily fixed but not free)"
#5
buy a PRS lol, problem solved lol. But in all seriousness make sure the frets are level, the action isnt 2 inches and plays well. Get a pro set up and you should be good. Just remember the quality of a $100 guitar is going to differ from a $1500 one.
#6
For starters, test the hardware, electronics, switches, etc. make sure it all works.

For the rest, a good setup is important. It may and may not have been set up properly at the factory. If you're new to guitars though, it may not be something you want to tinker with right away. Play the guitar, start watching videos of setups (action, intonation, relief), and keep playing. Eventually you'll feel comfortable enough to start checking some of these yourself.
#7
make sure the neck is straight, the action is good with no buzzing and check the frets. the electronics are easily fixed or swapped for fairly cheap. however a bowed neck could be an unfixable problem.

Truss rod adjustments could help with a neck problem but nothing is guaranteed. have the shop do any tinkering to suit you before you purchase it.
Last edited by adambauman31 at Jan 20, 2015,
#9
^ Yeah. Especially the bits not written by me

The bit by jenny in post #6 is probably what you want.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
Yeah I think it was the arrogance of youth

Not sure what my excuse is for trying to do an update
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?