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Author Topic: Meditations from a guitar shop.  (Read 1265 times)
Caleb
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« on: December 02, 2016, 05:02:38 PM »

I was in my local shop yesterday for a bit of gear.  While the guy was getting it from the back of the store I headed to the acoustic room. After playing several from many brands (none our beloved Larrivee) I was struck by the mediocrity of the guitars and how underwhelmed I was by the experience.  They moslty sounded dull, sort of lifeless, generic, and overall uninspiring.  I kept thinking how sad I would be if I were a kid going in there with $500 or $600 I'd saved, only to find such crummy instruments to choose from.  Maybe my ear has changed, or maybe the makers are churning out guitars like McD's does burgers. 


In fairness, there was a Taylor 812 that had good tone, and a D18 I wouldn't mind owning. But everything else was just blah.
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George
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 07:48:30 PM »

Fairly common experience for me these days as well.  I think after owning some really nice sounding/playing guitars, that "we" develop and ear for them.  Most mass produced guitars are laminates and just don't sound as good as the solid wood ones anyway.  However, now and then you will find a really great inexpensive one that somehow made it to the store!   wacko
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George
Caleb
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2016, 04:21:19 PM »

Yes, I suppose I'm spoiled and have developed an ear for great tone.  I own my Larrivee dread and a Collings mandolin, so that sets the bar pretty high.  I guess I just remember going into guitar shops as a younger man and pretty much wanting everything on the wall.  But I left there the other day not really wanting anything.  The joy of going into a guitar shop was once one of the richest experiences of life. 
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George
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2016, 04:27:19 PM »

Mine too, but these days I try to content myself with careful build details and just having them made.  Not the same as playing a great one in the store, but 9 out of 10 times I get a winner even though it was sight unseen.  Quality builders take the proper amount of time and attention to detail to consistently produce great instruments.  Mass producers are only interested in numbers, and many of the mass buyers are initially taken with the beauty of the build and not the tone...  guilty of used to being that way as well...
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George
ryler
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2016, 03:13:32 PM »

Similar experience at Guitar Center in the "high end" room.  Not so high end anymore.  It used to be fun to try out the 2K-3K Martins and Taylors.  There never really was a ton of manufacturer variety in there, but I could play guitars that I might want to someday buy.  Now they are all stored out of reach, high, high up.  Probably a good practice to prevent mishandling of a expensive guitars.  But what remains at eye level is uninspiring averageness.
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Caleb
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2016, 04:18:06 PM »

When I first started playing back in 1992 a friend and I used to go into the high-end room at GC.  I didn't know anything about guitars, but learned quickly if it had the name"Taylor" on the headstock, it for some reason sounded better to me than almost everything else in the room.  We would sit for hours and play together on those fancy guitars.  Some of the fondest memories of my youth, and part of the wonder that once was a guitar shop.  Back then one of those Taylors would have cost me about three months worth of paychecks, which might as well have been a million dollars to my instant gratification mindset of the time. 
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Caleb
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2016, 02:28:34 PM »

Ok... I stopped in my local GC yesterday on the way home.  It has been pretty recently updated and has a killer acoustic room.  I picked up about a half dozen higher end models from all the big makers, and I wouldn't have given a quarter for any of them.  All were just "blah" guitars.  The Gibsons really disappointed me because I've always loved their dry and airy sound.  But the ones I picked up yesterday were pretty lifeless. 
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skyline
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2016, 07:15:32 PM »

The Gibsons really disappointed me because I've always loved their dry and airy sound.  But the ones I picked up yesterday were pretty lifeless. 

Have you tried any of the L-00's?

I've played two lately - more attractive sound and feel than other guitars in the shop at twice the price
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2016, 07:20:16 PM »

As a lefty player, my experience of walking into any guitar shop is very different from the majority here. Basically, it feels like they've hung up a sign saying "we don't serve your kind here," and they send you over to the corner where they have 2-3 laughable, low end acoustics (or electrics). It's pathetic.

But I do go, and pick up many of the right-handed guitars, flip them over and start strumming and playing runs upside down. I can still tell if the guitar has some potential. I tend to be most impressed with about 1/3 of the Martins, and few others. Of the Martins, the 15 series almost always put a smile on my face...value for money in many cases. Occasionally a Gibson sounds good, but not many...which makes me very happy that the lefty J-45 I ordered sight unseen is such a well made, beautiful, tuneful guitar (even with its top grain runout, which my Larry C-10 also has).

Just my "wrong way" experience...

 
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Caleb
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2016, 07:47:25 PM »

Didn't see any L-00 models from Gibson.  I'm not dumping on Gibson for the sake of doing so (I actually like them a lot), just a bit puzzled as to what is coming out of their shop. 

I bet this tough being a lefty.  I'm also a mandolin player, so I can relate.  What passes for a mandolin in most shops is pretty awful. 
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LoMa
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2016, 04:45:44 PM »

Honestly, the problem could be old dead strings that need replacing. If you're serious about trying out a couple guitars, ask the shop to put on some fresh strings of the type you like, either phosphor bronze or 80/20's and be prepared for that new string shimmer.
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FOR SALE:
-Larrivee 00-3r short 24-3/4" scale, rosewood binding, Colosi bone nut & saddle. Very lush with overtones! $900 + shi
Mikeymac
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2016, 12:39:35 AM »

Honestly, the problem could be old dead strings that need replacing. If you're serious about trying out a couple guitars, ask the shop to put on some fresh strings of the type you like, either phosphor bronze or 80/20's and be prepared for that new string shimmer.

It may not be dead strings, either - just not the right strings for YOU - or for that particular guitar to sound the way you would prefer. String type can make or break even nicer guitars... but so can the pick you use (if you use a pick)! 
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1979 L-19
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Caleb
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2016, 05:17:34 PM »

I've been in and around the acoustic world for 20+ years and can spot a potentially great guitar that needs a string change.  These guitars didn't need new strings, but they were all just so-so instruments.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2016, 09:08:45 PM »

Three years back, I went into a shop with $2,200.00 in insurance money burning a hole in my pocket, thinking of buying a Gibson J-45. I played the two that were there and then about 20 other guitars and ended up buying the Bose system that I was playing them through. It was the only thing that impressed me that I didn't already have covered in the string department.   
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