Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guide on buying guitars (part 2)

Here is part two of the guide. I'm in a hurry so please, forgive the grammar.

So now comes the technical parts or the specs if you want to call it, i will divide them into sections:

a) tuners
b) bridges
c) neck
d) pups
e) controls
f) wood

a) Tuners

Tuners are probably the most important part of your axe, unfortunately its also one of the hardest thing to select. most guitars come with stock tuners, the upper end ones come with brands like gotoh. I have yet to find out what is the best means to test if a guitar has good tuning (in a shop), all i know is i go by the price and by experiences of others. one trick i know, is to aggressively bend the string when testing teh guitar, pull the string up a few times with slight force. if the guitar gets out of tune fast with a slight tug on the strings it likely will have bad tuning, thus trick unfortunately doesnt really work on floyd roses.

c) bridges

floating vs non-floating

personally despite not owning one, i find that fixed bridges are the best and most beginners or budget hunters should stay away from floyds as much as they can. why? floyds are feeble, they break often and they are unreliable, did i also mention that they eat tone? yes floyds eat tone and sustain.

but thats not really the issue about floyds, the problem is its very hard to tell the good from teh bad. the ibanez catalog itself has countless floyd roses with qualities ranging from great legendary stuff to something that you want to beat the stray cat with. even the OFR has a few "models", the high end german ones, "stable" korean made ones, the taiwanese made ones, and the china made ones.

its a safe bet to assume guitars below 2k have got terrible floyds, but this is not a assured bet there are reviews that the recent floyds in Horizon FR's are of terrible quality. so be midnful, do your research, personally i feel that its not worth it to spend more money and effort on something that allows you to do crazy dive bombs.

d) neck

this plays a huge role in your guitar playing but not a definitive role, some like thin some like thick, i personally like high gloss necks. understand that it doesnt mean the neck is thin means its fast, speed comes from practice not which neck you have.

d) i. neck finishes

Currently I guess these are the finishes available for the neck:

Painted - satin : available for models, dull/matte feel
Painted - glossy : most makes have this kind of finish, same finish with the body

Wood - oiled (tung, gunstock- based oils) : available for guitar with natural finishes, or sometimes for bolt-ons
Wood - raw/unfinished : somewhat rare, I can't recall whether rosewood necks are oiled or not
Wood - satin : nitrocellulosed without the paint, quite common too

Translucent - rarely found in a satin finish, most likely painted/dyed over then buffed to a gloss finish.

d) pups

this section is probably the least you should worry about, pups are like an engine to a guitar but its also the easiest to change.

e) controls

This is the one that people dont bother about, but very under-rated. good control placing allows you to mess with them at play, ever seen youtube videos of people shredding and mixing up their pups with a flick of a switch (often used in passages with appregios). again find one that suits you, personally strats fit me the best as i learned some finger techniques along the way. yes there are techniques for controls

f) wood

first thing, bass wood is not bass wood. confusing ? yes. but why i put it this way?? ask the guitar companies. often you pick up a ibanez RG and you see it features basswood, then you look at a JEM777 (which costs about x7 that RG) and its bass wood. some of us will think "same wood what" unfortunately.. no

now whats the difference? wood has got grades, like everything in life there's good wood and bad wood. the JEM777 will likely feature a large chunk piece of american basswood where else your RG might have multiple pieces of such a wood. this is not only to a single company, MIM fender is known to have 4-5 pieces of alder wood in their body alone. MIA 2-3 which is why the latter normally has better finishes.

how much this affects your overall tone is still questionable, some say the less wood the better the sustain but no one knows for sure.


  1. Great tips. I hardly knew any of this...

  2. Great guide with nice and useful tips!

  3. Tuners I had experience with the rest never knew, great guide.

  4. Ah thats one of the things I love about hobbies and interests theres so many small details when you get into it