How do you test your guitars?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by thegrasshopper, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. thegrasshopper

    thegrasshopper Strat-Talker

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    I'm opening this discussion because we all talk a lot about how well our guitars sound... but, how do we test them? Are we doing it properly?

    My story: I found some strats sounding quite good in my home studio... pretty cheap btw. Then, I usually try to test them through friends' good vintage amps (blackface, hiwatt 100)

    Eventually I am testing the guitars in a professional studio (again of a friend of mine): plugging the guitar through a pristine vintage Hiwatt Custom 100, a microphoned 4x12 Marshall vintave cab and listening it through the pro studio monitors in a well conditioning mixing room, and assisted by a good sound engineer.... I have managed to listen some kind of nuanaces otherwise imposible... I can tell if a guitar could cut well in a mix, the harmomic content, not being biased by a thick low end (which is not the natural place for a guitar in a mix...)

    With this method I have changed my opiniom about some guitars, in both ways

    How do you approach testing a guitar?
     
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  2. sssstratsss

    sssstratsss Strat-O-Master

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    If they make noise they work.

    If they sound bad, that's usually my fault not the guitar
     
  3. Ian Ashdown

    Ian Ashdown Strat-O-Master

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    What he said!

    Ian
    SoCal
     
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  4. knh555

    knh555 Most Honored Senior Member

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    I can’t see rejecting a guitar that didn’t sound right on gear that I don’t use if it works in environments with gear that I do encounter.
     
  5. Intune

    Intune Senior Stratmaster

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    I don’t really understand the question. I test or play my guitars through my amps. I get the sound I want. If I go to my brothers place I can pretty much dial the sound I’m after through his amp as well.

    A crappy guitar or amp can sound good depending on who’s playing and or setting up the gear.
     
  6. thegrasshopper

    thegrasshopper Strat-Talker

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    Good point, what works in some environment might not work in another.

    I could have missed the goal of the test
     
  7. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Strat-O-Master

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    I normally just do what you said, or if a high priced amp in a swanky studio isn't available, I just plug it into my crappy amp and check that it plays good cowboy chords.
     
  8. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    I play my guitars through my amps at home, and with the band, and if I like the sound, then that's good enough.
     
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  9. TepidPilot

    TepidPilot Strat-O-Master

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    I have the greatest guitar player ever to have lived, the late, great Mike Bloomfield, play them and report back to me. If he approves that's good enough for me.

    TP
     
  10. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    Can I have his number?
     
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  11. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    how does the back of the neck feel?

    how is the action at the 12th fret?

    Do the pickups work?
     
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  12. Wrighty

    Wrighty Most Honored Senior Member

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    I test mine in my real world. The fact that some interesting nuances might be heard through a pair of $10,000 speakers in a studio means nothing to me with a Fender twin in an empty room. The Bee Gees and Abba had it sussed. They made their music to sound good through a cheap transistor radio, exactly how the kids would hear it.
     
  13. TepidPilot

    TepidPilot Strat-O-Master

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    You could if I had it, but he's got to call you. Be patient, it can happen.

    TP
     
  14. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    Multiple choice followed by an essay.

    What is testing a guitar? I play them.
     
  15. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I think the next time I have a potential purchase I should send the guitar over for you to test it.
     
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  16. ido1957

    ido1957 Senior Stratmaster

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    My guitars test me (i.e. test my patience, stamina, skill) so it's the other way around.
     
  17. of this world

    of this world Senior Stratmaster

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    I give them a harrowing mission and see who makes it back.
     
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  18. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    That made me laugh.
     
  19. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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  20. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Strat-Talker

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    My approach is totally unscientific, vague, and a bit hand-wavy. I play it thru whatever amp is available for a clean amplified tone. If it sounds good clean then it'll sound good cranked. Not necessarily the other way around.

    Then I check to see if it plays well and are there any physical issues with frets, neck, etc? Then, the most important test: does it sing? This is the hand-wavy bit. Maybe it's just me, but I find that sometimes a guitar will sing when you play it. Some will fight you and others are unresponsive duds.

    When I was looking for a vintage, I tried a dozen old strats in the shop before I bought my '62. It was the most beat up, rode-hard-and-put-up-wet looking guitar of the bunch. But that was the one that sang to me. I never regretted buying that one, it was the best player of the bunch and served me well on gigs. A pristine strat would have been better today for resale value, but that was and is a kick-A player.