Things you should know before buying any guitar

Things you should know before buying any guitar

1st August 2019 0 By sarabhbmusic

Hi to all the readers! In this post I’ll be talking about some things to be considered while buying an acoustic guitar. 

So to begin with, there are a wide varieties of guitars to choose from. There are thousands of guitars available in the market, which makes it even more confusing to decide that which guitar do you actually want. Also there are many accessories to be considered while purchasing a guitar.

Guitars do have a diversified price range. The price of a standard acoustic guitar starts from Rs. 2500 (in India) and also goes way more expensive. This again creates a confusion among beginners that what actually is the difference between cheap, mid-end, and high-end guitars. To say more specifically any shopkeeper or guitarist would say difference is of quality and yeah that’s true, the more you pay the better your guitar will gonna sound. But on the other hand, there are also many cheap guitars which shows impressive performance in less price. 

Now, I am going to tell you some key points to be considered before buying an acoustic guitar, what accessories to expect or buy with the guitar, and how to maintain a guitar after you’ve purchased it.  And also at the end I will suggest you some guitars that I’ve personally tried and bought with the help of these key points.

Key Points to check before buying any Guitar:-

1.Truss Rod

Truss rod is located inside the neck of the guitar. Usually mid-end and high end guitars do have truss rod in them, but some low-end guitar may not have it, and this rod is a crucial part.

thrust rod of guitar
Truss Rod inside guitar

As we can see in picture above, truss rod is adjusted to settle the action of the guitar. Action of the guitar refers to height between the fret board and strings. When the strings are very close to fret board it creates a buzzing sound, for fixing this truss rod is adjusted into convex figure. This makes strings go up from fret board.

And when strings are to far from the fret board, pressing strings become painful and difficult. For Fixing this, truss rod is adjusted in concave shape so that strings may come down. This is how truss rod works. You can check for truss rod in a guitar by looking into front hole or near tuning pegs/keys, as shown in the picture.

If you are interested in knowing more about adjusting action, you can check my blog section, there I will be posting another blog on maintenance of guitar.

Truss Rod at the end of the neck
Truss Rod inside sound hole

2.Body Joints

Before buying an acoustic guitar, you have to make sure that it’s not damaged. If it’s your first time buying a guitar you need to check your guitar more carefully for external damage. Now, let me tell you in how many ways a new guitar could be damaged and how you can check it.

(a) Neck Joint

Broken neck joint

Neck joint is located where guitar neck is attached perpendicularly to the upper body. If there is crack or the neck joint is broken, you should not buy it even if the shopkeeper says they can fix it before your purchase or so. A damaged neck will effect sound quality, your productivity and many factors. Also, the repairing cost of this damage is quite expensive too. 

(b) Bridge joint

A bridge in guitar is located at the upper body of a guitar, above the sound hole. Bridge holds the strings that makes tuning a guitar  very smooth. But some times if bridge is not properly glued, the stretch or pressure of stings may force bridge to lift up.

Before buying any guitar, one should check very carefully that the bridge is properly glued and, is not lifting up.

Image Credits- "frets.com"

(c) Edges of guitar

Image credits- "www.guitarrepairbench.com"

Just like bridge, the edges of guitars do have chances of being poorly  glued. This might create opening of guitar at the edges of guitar.

Before buying any guitar, one should make sure that edges are properly glued and, there’s not any opening at the edges as shown in the picture. 

3. Fret board

Fret board is the upper side of neck of the guitar, where we place fingers to play tabs or chords. Fret boards are made up of wood, and not just one kind of wood, there are many kinds of woods that can be used to make guitar’s fret board.

And each kind of wood have difference in their durability, smoothness, shine etc. So, mainly three types of wood are found commonly in guitars. These are Maple wood, Rose wood and Ebony wood. Ebony fret boards are usually found in high-end guitars whereas, rosewood is found in mid-end and lower-end guitars. Now, the question is which wood quality we should consider?

Maple fret board

Maple fret board are inferior to rosewood fret board, you should avoid purchasing guitars with maple. However, if you are tight on budget and just wanna take a guitar just for clicking photos that doesn’t matter. 🙂 

Maple wood are painted so that they look like Ebony fret boards. Also Maple fret board to loose color over time and that makes fret board looks horrible.

Identifying a maple wood is not so difficult, you just need to see fret board carefully and see if it’s painted.

Unlike Maple, Rose wood fret boards have patterns in them and they are glued in pieces on fret board, whereas, maple wood is just a piece of wood painted. You can even see raw patterns over rosewood.

The sound produced by rosewood is more soft as compared to maple’s. So, if you’re going to buy a new guitar I would suggest to  go for rosewood fret board.

Now, coming to Ebony Fret board, well mostly all expensive guitars haves it, ebony wood would be suited more for professional work.  

At last I would say that, Ebony is superior quality but it’s not the only good quality we can have. Rosewood is a good option for everyone. And the maple will be suited more for tight budget holders. 

Rose wood fret board

4. Tuning Keys

Tuning keys

Tuning keys are used to tune strings of a guitar. Checking them is very simple, before buying the guitar you just need to get it tuned, if the strings are getting untuned to soon, then the keys are defected. If you found this problem, you should go for another guitar.

Also, while tuning the guitar if a key got stuck at a point and you have to put more efforts to move the key then the key is again, defected. The keys of a new guitar moves very smoothly and no extra efforts are required to move them.However, with time keys may start jamming but that can be fixed easily, all you need to care about is to get your guitar serviced timely.

I will be posting a blog about maintenance of guitar, you can check it out on my blog section.

5. Nut And Saddle

Nut
Saddle

Nut in a guitar is a plastic piece at the end of the fret board near tuning keys. Ant the saddle is the plastic piece on the bridge from where strings holds the support. Before buying the guitar you should make sure that these two pieces are not cracked, coming out of their place or are poorly glued. Although, if you face this problem in the future you can get it repaired, and its not going to be much expensive, because it’s a minor damage.

I’ve also created a post about damages that guitar may face, how to repair them by your self, which damage will incur you more expense and many more things, make sure to check that blog to 🙂 

6. Pickup & Equalizer

If you are buying a semi acoustic guitar you must ask shopkeeper to plug it into an speaker/amplifier and present a demo. If you feel that sound is changing when you move buttons then the equalizer and pickup are working perfectly.

~SUMMERY~

Here, I’ve prepared a list of all the six key points that we’ve discussed above.

1. Truss rod

2. Body Joints

3. Fret board

4. Tuning  Keys

5. Nut & Saddle

6. Pickup & Equalizer

 

My Recommendations

Thank you for reading this blog! Hope all the information was useful for you. 🙂 

If you liked this post please share it and drop down your thoughts in comments, suggestions are welcome in comment section 😀

See you all in my next post. Till then keep practicing…