How do you test your guitars?

thegrasshopper

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2021
278
Spain
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?
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,942
Edmonton, Alberta
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.
 

thegrasshopper

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2021
278
Spain
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.
Good point, what works in some environment might not work in another.

I could have missed the goal of the test
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
11,364
Harlow, Essex, UK
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?

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.
 

The_Whale

Strat-O-Master
Apr 11, 2020
566
Gaithersburg, MD
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 think the next time I have a potential purchase I should send the guitar over for you to test it.
 

fretWalkr

Strat-Talker
Apr 10, 2019
272
Dallas via Memphis
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.
 


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