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Musings

When we have something to say, we say it here. Updated only occasionally, because we're too far away from the Muse of Inspiration's usual route.

 

Posted by in General on Apr 13, 2017 .

When shopping for an acoustic guitar, you'll generally see three types: all-solid-wood construction, laminated back and sides with a solid wood top, and all-laminate construction. How do you know what to get?

An all-solid-wood guitar will give you the richest sound and most volume, because solid wood is not as stiff and can vibrate more. It is also the most expensive, and is the most vulnerable to temperature and humidity changes.

All-laminate means that the top, back and sides are made of multiple layers of wood glued together, often with an attractive top “veneer” layer. An all-laminate guitar will not give you as loud or as...

Posted by in General on Aug 04, 2016 .

One of the most common questions we get is, “What guitar is right for the young beginner: acoustic or electric?” The answer is surprisingly easy, but first, let's look at the differences.

Finger and hand strength are a challenge for any beginner...especially kids. Electric guitars allow young students to move their hands more easily and with less fatigue. That's because the strings are typically thinner and not as tough to push down. Plus, most electric guitar necks are slimmer and feel more comfortable to smaller hands.

On the other hand, acoustic guitars bring freedom and convenience. Just pick it up and start to play! Plus,...

Posted by in General on Apr 22, 2016 .

On production guitars, the standard for a factory setup is often “good enough is good enough”. Here's an example...

 

Take a look at this (potentially) nice little Double-O:

 

Using a radius block, I filed the frets to this model's correct 12” fretboard radius. From the filings you can see that frets 3 through 5 were particularly high in the middle, whereas frets 9 and above were high on the edges.

 

When a guitar company doesn't do the required fretwork, the result is a guitar that simply can't play as well as it should. This manufacturer's solution to this is to set the saddle so high that the strings will...

Posted by in General on Feb 16, 2016 .

In our personal collection, as well as in our store, we have both new and "refurbished" instruments. Sometimes our customers ask us whether they should get a new "with warranty" guitar or one of our refurbished (never sold but no warranty) models. Our only piece of advice: don't let the warranty decide for you. Why?

First of all, if you buy a guitar from anyone who has a decent return policy, you have time to check for yourself if the guitar looks good, sounds good, and if the electronics work. And although the IDEA of a guitar warranty is comforting (you think "hey I'm protected if anything goes wrong"), in practice it's just not...

Posted by in General on Oct 28, 2015 .

For most of us in the U.S., this time of year means the air is starting to really dry out. Last November we talked about the importance of humidity to your guitar. Sure, you can keep the humidity up at 45% in your house...but in the cold weather you'd have water running down the inside of your windows, so scratch that. You can also dedicate an entire humidity-controlled room to your instruments. Or...

There are plenty of products you can purchase to humidify your guitar, and you don't have to spend a lot of money. We personally like the Planet Waves GH Acoustic Guitar Humidifier; it's easy to use and works well...and it only costs 7-8...

Posted by on Sep 02, 2015 .

eBay is too big to care.

There, I said it. I am officially biting the hand that feeds me. But after five years of “swimming against the stream” and paying eBay thousands of dollars each month, I've hit the wall.

When we started with eBay, we had people that we could speak to. Heck, they even reached out to us to know if there was anything they could do to help us succeed. 

But now, we have no point of contact whatsoever. Reaching anyone in management is virtually impossible. The overworked and undertrained “Customer Service Specialists” that we are allowed to speak with often give us conflicting information. 

We are...

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 .

Almost every guitarist knows this feeling: your guitar sounds excellent, looks great and sits well in your hand, but still somehow manages to be hard to play. What you may not know is that this problem has a solution. 

The "PLEK" process, developed in Germany, produces the most optimal string action possible for each instrument, depending on the individual style of the musician. An optimally playable guitar sounds better: the strings don't hit the frets while playing, and intonation problems that occur because string action is too low are eliminated.

Using a "PLEK" station (a compact machine developed around the high speed, high...

Posted by in General on Jun 16, 2015 .

Life is full of mysteries. Such as “If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?” And, “Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" to have an "s" in it?” For many guitarists, the compressor is a mysterious effect. But if I had only one pedal on my board, it would have to be a compressor.

Compressors were born out of need in recording studios. In simple terms, what they do is reduce the dynamic range of a signal, i.e. the difference between the softest and loudest volumes. Their original purpose was to avoid distorting recordings by “squishing” transient loud peaks. But wily guitarists figured out that a...