Buying a guitar - things that you should NOT worry about
Author: Raul-Alvarez Date Posted:14 February 2013
I have noticed over my 20 year experience how people approach buying guitars and what they tend to stress about, which at the end of the day those issues should not cause any stress at all.
Below is a couple of common issues:
STRING ACTION - the height of the strings from the fret board
This is the most common complaint people make when trying out a guitar, beginner or professional. And surprisingly it’s the least problem to worry about.
First of all, although all our guitars. like all other manufacturers, come with a factory standard set up, OF which these set-ups differs depending what type of guitar it is.... confusing? Not really.
First IMPORTANT rule about strings that you MUST remember for your WHOLE musical life.... all strings VIBRATE in an ELIPTICAL manner. This elliptical vibration, the larger it is equals louder volume and causes the wood in the guitar to resonate louder.
Classical and Spanish guitars, both of which use nylon strings, are set to approximately 5mm at the 12th fret. This action is high because nylon strings vibrate with a larger elliptical diameter than steel strings, and require this height to also have no fret rattle.
Steel string acoustic guitars are generally set from the factory at approximately 2.5mm on the low E and 2mm on the high E, measured at the 12th fret, this height being playable yet high enough to cause NO string rattle, as string rattle is VERY noticeable on acoustic guitars.
On Electric guitars, the height is different for a bolt-on neck guitar than a set-neck (glued in neck) /neck through body guitar .String rattle is not as big a deal as it is with acoustics because minor rattle is NOT picked up by the guitars PICKUPS, being humbucker or single coils. Factory standard action is between 2mm on the low E and 1.8mm on the high E, measured at the 12th fret
Bolt-on necks tend to lose some energy with string vibration and this generally lets the strings vibrate with a larger elliptical diameter than the set neck guitars, which means they have more string rattle when the action is set low, and this also means that all set-neck/neck-through-body can have a LOWER action than the bolt-on necks if you prefer so.
This does NOT mean that set-neck guitars are always better than bolt-on neck guitars. Each has unique tonal qualities those suite different needs. It all comes down to YOUR ear and what you like.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN??? At the end of the day, STRING ACTION is a personal preference and can be set up to whatever YOU like so long as it’s playable.
When trying guitars please don’t let this concern you at all in regards to string action, regardless if it’s a $100 guitar or a $10,000 guitar, because all guitars are wooden, the temperature and weather will always affect the string action on your guitar, so it’s MORE important to worry about the COMFORT and TONE of the guitar.
STRING TYPE OR BRAND/GAUGE
Believe it or not strings have alot of influence on the previous topic about string action, and they also affect you tone. BUT... When buying a guitar you should NOT worry about what strings are on the guitar currently as you can change them to your preference later. Once again, the FEEL, CONFORT and TONE are what you should be concerned with. Some string brands will be brighter, or warmer, or sustain longer etc, than others, and also the age of the strings will also affect the playability, but in regards to trying a guitar out you MUST concentrate on the feel of the guitar in general and NOT what the strings feel like because as soon as you put YOUR favourite stings on the new guitar, it will IMPROVE right away!
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