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    Instruments - The purchase of an electric guitar



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Exercice 3: Blues: lead only

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The purchase of an electric guitar
The Instruments



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The purchase of an electric guitar

by Donald Loignon

      I receive several letters by e-mail where one asks me which kind guitar to buy or which guitar I would advise him, then, I will try to answer this question in the best of my knowledge and by consulting experts on the matter for certain more complex parts. If by chance you know pages treating of stringed-instrument trade and consultings, i would be please, to put a link towards those.

To help you to make your decision concerning the purchase of an electric guitar, I will speak to you, in the following text, of some criteria on which you can base yourselves to check the quality of the instrument which interests you and for better determining your needs. It will be, wholesale, question of the keys, the handle, the body, the vibrato, and the pick-up.


The Keys:
They are used to grant the instrument. If you have very good keys your instruments will have less chance of lossing it's tone. Here is what you need to know if it is of quality :

1) Verify if the keys have played or if they have been broken, if so, it is probably how the guitar will be out of tuned.

2) Verify if they have screws in the back of the head of the guitar, you will be able to thus tighten them, if necessary.

The handle:
The feeling of the handle depends on several factors: The choice of wood for the touch, the handle itself, completion, the finish, as well as the height and width of freight.

The handle of a guitar of good quality has a stem of reinforcement inside, therefore call " truss rod ". This one makes it possible to adjust the curve of the handle. It is preferable to make adjustement by the " truss rod " by a technician of experience. This adjustment should be made twice a year or when you change gauge of your strings. The moisture content can also influence the curve of the handle. Here it what you must pay attention:

1) Check the adjustment of the " truss rod ": It should not have be unscrewed to the maximum, or tight either to the maximum. Thus, you should have a certain play so that you can readjust your handle when it works. When there is no play, the curve of the handle cannot be adjusted any more, it is necessary for you to change your handle or to make him sand a curve, which is rather expensive and happens rather very seldom.

2) Check that the handle is right as much as possible. Also check that it is not twisted.

3) Once adjusted, the handle must have a certain hollow so that it " buzz " not on the freight. A handle with a bump poses a problem. It is more difficult to adjust.

4) Check the height and width of freight, outward with what is appropriate to you best, according to your way of playing and the size of your fingers. You must feel at ease with it.
   - With large freight the execution is more difficult but it gets a sound with more sustain.
   - less large freight make it possible to carry out solos more easily, but the sound resounds less longer with those. You can also check if freight are not worn, because a refrettage could proof to be necessary.

5) The radius (roundness on the top of the touch) can influence the way of playing. A guitar with a flat handle or almost, makes it possible to carry out agreements more easily and a handle with a more marked radius makes it possible to make stretchings of string more easily. There are also the width and the size of the handle which you must take into account.

6) Check if the handle is split or broken (particularly in the case of a wear guitar). Be carefull some people stick the handle so that the cracks do not show.

7) For the clothes industry of the handle, various types of wood can be used:

1) Mapple: Used in the manufacture of the complete handle (touchs and handle).Give the tonality more sharper, During reffrettage, it is very difficult to keep the varnished one on the touch in good shape.

2) Rosewood : Used in the manufacture of complete handle (touches and handle) or of the touch only. It supports the median frequencies.

3) Ebony: Used for the clothes industry of touch (Fretboard). Give the richest dial tone, it is very stable, wood is however difficult to work.

" the handle is very often made mahogany tree because it is very stable a wood and easy to workit. The maple is used often for the handles of electric guitars because it is easy to get and it is very robust.

The touch receives the" freight " and is stuck on the handle. The most wood used for its clothes industry are: Rosewood, ebony, and the maple

- an ebony key gives much rigidity to the handle and, from this fact, increases a little the sustain.
- the wood of rose est less rigid than ebony but produces a very soft key which gives a softer sound (mellow).. "


The Councils in order to reduce the disarrangement of your handle:
- When you change the strings of your guitar, it is preferable to cary one by one, especially if you have floating tremor
- Do not to expose your guitar to the sun or close to a heater cold source, for long time.

Tremor (also named vibrato):.
The tremor must always return to it's initial position. when you slacken it. If not, your guitar will be untunned continuouly.

1) A good way of checking that is done as follows:
- Using a tuner, tune your guitar to 440 hertz, then, use your vibrato is by lowering it or while assembling it. If it is adjusted suitably, the guitar will remain granted relatively well. If one or more string do not return to the initial position an adjustment imposes. Sometimes, the dial tone of all the strings change. The problem can thus to reside in the poor quality of the vibrato or the tension of the springs badly adjusted.

With regard to the springs, certain guitarists use of it only two to have a greater play of vibrato and to give each other a more flexible action. The vibratos " floys Floyd " are very famous. Several large guitarists use them. But, it is necessary to go also there according to its budget, some vibrato can be less expensive and do about the same work. The important thing is to check its quality as described Ci-high.

2) Certain guitars have a lock on the level of the head to stabilize the cords during the intensive use of the tremor. This part replaces the usual sillet in bone or graphite. The cords being barred, they have less tendency to untuned. To note that this accessory is optional.

The bodys:
1) The type of wood used for the body of the guitar is important. It changes all the dynamics of the sound. You can check by testing guitars made up of various materials: maple, mahogany tree, ash, lime and the rolled-iron product of different drink
(not to be confused with the " plywood ").

" the alder has been a very popular wood for several years because it is not expensive, and that it produces a its rich person. I'ts also often used because of it's a very light weight. Fender uses this wood for several years in the clothes industry of Stratocaster, inter alia. This wood, generally, is used for the finished opaque ones and " sunburst "

the Ash-tree,for this wood, it very dense, it is a hard wood. It gives to the guitar a brilliant tonality and a good sustain.

The lime, therefore named basswood, is very popular because it is with very cheap and light. It has a its rich sound, shining and soft. It is a wood which has a hardly visible veining.

The cherry tree is one exellent hard wood being able to be used in the manufacture of body. It is usually easy to get some.

The mahogany tree, is to him a hard wood with a its heat centered on the median frequencies and a full tonality. Gibson uses this wood to make to the guitars Pauls as well as maple for the top of the body. There are several varieties of mahogany tree. It come from Africa and and tropical areas. These wood are very popular, but expensive. A natural finition of this wood gives a very beautiful presentation.

The maple is probably the wood generally used for the handle, but is more rarely used for the body of the guitar.

The oak is a very hard and very heavy wood. It is also difficult to work.

The walnut tree, as for him, melt like chocolate. It is a wood of high quality.

2) Other general consultings concerning the body:
- Look at if the guitar is not worked or if glares of painting are not separated. Certain salesmen try to fake these defects with painting or other products. It is important to check these details to haggle over the instrument.

3) " Also, vérifiy the quality of the joint of handle with the body. There are three types: screwed, tenons stuck and integral (neck through or one piece neck). It does not matter which type of joint is used, if this one is well done, one will have a good transfer of vibrations of the handle towards the body and vice versa. That influences a lot on the final sonority of the instrument "

The pick-up:
On an electric guitar, the most important point is the quality of the transducers pick-up. There is on the market myriade of transducers of various sonorities and variable quality. Inform yourself near a violin maker to choose this.

1) For the guitars of collection, it is preferable not to change the pick-up, because they lose value with the least modification

2) There are various types of pick-ups:
The humbucking (double coils ) gives an acuter sound with more sustain and of distortion.

The single coil gives a softer sound and cleaner, it releases from the clearer harmonics and a its General more brilliance that the humbuker when it is used without distortion.
See my chronicle on the use of the record players.

3) Pay attention with the connection of the pick-up, because the sound changes according to the type of connection: in series or parallel.

4) You can check if the pick-up of a guitar functions well by typing carefully on the magnets using a hexagonal key or with your pick.

The volume and controls tonality:

Vérify if they function well and if they do not scrape. Certain potentiometers do not have dynamics (the volume of the instrument will not increase gradually). It is preferable to use those which increase gradually. It is proper to use a potentiometer of 500k for the humbukers and 250k for the simple reels.


To finish, I wish you a good time shopping for your guitar and I strongly advise you to test a lot of them before making your final choice. Ask around violin makers and experienced guitarists.

Also, don't forget to have your instrument checked regularly by a qualified person (violin maker) in order to keep it in good condition. It is important to find a person who takes time to answer your questions and will explains you the modifications and maintenance that it needed for your instrument.

 

 


 

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