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Posted by in General on April 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 August 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 April 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 February 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 October 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 in General on June 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...

Posted by in General on May 20, 2015 .

Guitar manufacturers guard their image very carefully, which is a good thing.  But in the real world, things happen.  A clear finish coat may have a couple of specks of dust or the wood grain may not look the same all over the guitar (these are often called “B-Stock”), or a fret may not have been completely seated into its slot. None of these things affect how a guitar sounds or plays.  But they can affect a company's image. And remember, they protect their image very carefully.

When shipping thousands of guitars it is inevitable that casualties will occur.  Sadly, some guitars suffer greatly. Headstocks snap. Tops collapse....

Posted by in General on April 10, 2015 .

The guitar industry, like most, has its share of blowhards and "Mad Men". You know, those people that can spin anything and everything to their favor. That's why I found Taylor Guitar founder Bob Taylor's comments on his guitar's lack of acceptance by bluegrass players so refreshing.

Bob said, "Most people who play bluegrass don’t like Taylor guitars; they prefer Martin guitars. The fact is that the popularity of our guitars is very much associated with our sound, and that is because our sound was/is different than the traditional sound, and there are many people who prefer our sound. I once went to the Walnut Valley Festival in...