How do you test your guitars?


Mar 15, 2021
I'm absolutely with Antstrat on this. The color may grab my eye, but if these three criteria aren't met, it's a no go.

There is one other factor for me. I like a guitar that has resonance to it, so there is a certain song that I play that has a G6/E chord in it. That may sound exotic to some, but it is simply an open E chord played at the 4th fret. If the guitar is resonant, that chord will bloom beautifully. If it doesn't gloom, it just sounds flat to my ears, and the guitar is a no go.
Interesting... :)


Mar 15, 2021
Why don’t you tell me? What is testing a guitar?
For me is getting to know if the guitar sound wise, is well balanced. I know this is vague and imprecise, and depends on each person, taste, and so on. I try to find out if a guitar is harmonically reach in the midrange, do not care much about the low end. Obviously I take into account the guitar type: a strat does not sound like a tele...If i am testing a strat, I would like to find the charastteric strat sound on it (at least my conception about how a strat should sound like) My final goal is to tell if the guitar could settle up nicely in a mix (of course for my music genres... I know it is not the same country music than doom metal)

What I tried to point out is that, with my previous methods, I was missinn things I consider now key factors, things I do understand other people wouldm't give a s***


Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2018
Chino Hills CA
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 tested the Elite Tele I eventually bought at GC on a Twin Reverb RI and Princeton Reverb they had in the room. My amp at home was a Pro Sonic. I tested the guitar on amps similar to mine.

Slacker G

Senior Stratmaster
May 16, 2021
"How do you test your guitars?"

I line them all up and ask them questions such as " Can you name the notes that comprise an "A" chord?"

Or things like "Recite the climatic scale to me"

They always pass so that's why I keep every single one of them.


Senior Stratmaster
Sep 4, 2016
Oxford England
Not sure if this has been mentioned before, I haven't read every post, sorry.
I always play any guitar I am trying out without an amp for about 15 minutes. Does it sustain, ring and have a 'snap' to it. I put the low E and A strings away from the body and let go. If I get a nice snap and ring to the sound I know there's a resonance to the neck/body.
Not sure about the science of all this but I have found if that all works well, it'll sound well plugged in.

Told to me by an old pro in the 70s.


Mar 16, 2019

The tricky bit is getting the nut lube and fretboard oil off the guitar and into those tiny tubes.


Mod Admin
Staff member
Jul 6, 2014
Carmel IN
If you buy a guitar center used you still have the same return window. Even my local Sam Ash is now offering returns on used gear when they never used to.


Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 7, 2012
East Tennessee, USA
Neck, neck, neck. Visual inspection. Balance. Unplugged sound/resonance. Electronics check on any amp. By then, it is probably pretty enough and new to me enough to keep;).

Noting I've returned one guitar that unpacked with a broken headstock, and collected a discount on three guitars/amps with cosmetic flaws. I tend to not return stuff.

Bob Spumoni

Senior Stratmaster
May 5, 2019
New England
I have a number of amps (who doesn't?). I always try something new on all of them. Some matches are good; some are not. You're "testing" the amp as well as the guitar, of course, and the speaker. It's the ensemble of the three that makes the sound, after all.