How do you test your guitars?

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

  1. mazzolar59

    mazzolar59 Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Since I don't record or play live anymore; if they sound good in my living room, then they will do. That said, I don't own any cheap guitars. I prefer to buy American made guitars (although I do own a Mexican Tele that's just killer).
     
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  2. bobbybro

    bobbybro Strat-Talk Member

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    I had a Mesa Boogie Express Plus 5:50. I could plug any guitar into it and they magically sounded the same! And that's one of Mesa's best clean amps. I had a Celestion Gold in that amp.

    On the other hand, I had a Marshall 2061x (had 2 of them over the years actually) with a nice Celestion Gold and a Vintage 30 in a 2x12 2061xc cab, and you could hear the distinctness in every guitar. It made my Dan Electro quite fun to play. The amp emphasized the guitar's character. That's a good amp to test a guitar on.
     
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  3. jblue

    jblue Strat-Talk Member

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    Sadly, I usually just give them a quick run-through, making sure it's completely functional. If I have a good feeling playing it initially, I buy it. It takes some time for me to bond with a guitar or not. That said, it goes one way or the other from there. I don't overpay cause if it goes the other, I'll sell it down the line.
     
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  4. ladewd

    ladewd Strat-Talk Member

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    The first concert I ever attended was the Blues Project with Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper.
     
  5. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Strat-O-Master

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    After I build or mod a guitar, I usually hit the strings with the guitar unplugged and with one hand, I grab the headstock. I feel the vibration, the strength of the vibration and the duration in seconds to assess the neck/body connection, sustain and overall components interaction. A low timed thud isn't a good sign.

    I have several amp rigs and I play my guitars through most of them and that is a good indicator whether or not it is a good sounding guitar.
     
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  6. DaMasta

    DaMasta Strat-Talk Member

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    I don't really get hung up in specs or equipment. If it sounds good through what I own and makes the noises I want it to make I'm happy. Test passed
     
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  7. Dik Ellis

    Dik Ellis Strat-Talk Member

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    I like to play out of amps that I am familiar with, such as a Mesa Boogie or a Fender. That will tell me what I need to know about the guitar.
     
  8. Bladesg

    Bladesg Funk Meister Silver Member

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    I don’t adjust my amp and rarely adjust anything on my pedalboard for any of my guitars so I guess there’s my reference.
     
  9. AncientAx

    AncientAx Still hacking ....

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    I hold them under water with one of those tire things and see if the tone leaks out .
     
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  10. buzzword

    buzzword Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    First I check to see if the neck is comfortable, I'll take any modern C or D, and I'm ok with any radius on those (although modern C compound preferred). I prefer medium jumbo frets but can live with tall and narrow as well, it just doesn't make all that much difference to me, in fact I enjoy the challenge of having to compensate for the differences, variety is the spice of life. Admittedly I might feel differently if I was a pro playing out 3 or 4 sets a night, I'm not.

    Most importantly, I then bang the head stock against the edge of my desk a few times and then again against the wall, as I'm likely to do when tuning or playing while sitting or standing. I use wall hangers but I also have a floor stand so I can briefly put down the guitar I'm currently playing to go to the bathroom or answer the wife's call, so I place it there and let the the 2 cats rub up against it as they're quick to do if I leave the room while a guitar is on the floor stand.

    I then pick the cat hair out of the strings and pick ups (thus the reason for wall hangers) and if it still makes any kind of audible sound after all that *sold* :D
     
  11. Tremoluxer

    Tremoluxer Strat-Talker Gold Supporting Member

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    I test them when I buy them. If they don't pass I don't buy them. If they pass, they've graduated -- they're all done with tests -- and I buy them, playing "Pomp and Circumstance" as I walk out of the store with my new guitar.
     
  12. Guitdog44

    Guitdog44 New Member!

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    The weirdest thing that I've noticed is using a guitar that I really didn't like. I didn't like the pickups. To me they needed to be replaced. I used that guitar to record a song idea because it was handy and was surprised at how awsome it sounded in the recording!
    Maybe it would have sounded different with different pickups. Better? I don't know. Surprised? I was!
    Lol
     
  13. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Senior Stratmaster

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    First the basics: a decent neck with no buzzing or dead frets. Does the wiring work?
    Then I check the other most important thing for me: the feel. Is it lively?

    Many dismiss the headstock-tap test as irrelevant because it can't tell you anything about the tone.
    But can reveal much about the liveness of the neck.
    If a neck quivers when tapped it's almost certain that guitar will feel alive.

    As someone else posted, certain guitars sing when you play them.
    To me, those are the good ones.
    They're eager to come alive and will take off & fly even at pretty moderate volume levels.

    The way I see it, the sound of a guitar can be manipulated in dozens of different ways.
    But very little can be done to alter the liveliness of a guitar's feel.
    That's in the wood itself.

    Another thing about evaluating guitars primarily by their tone: I agree when hearing any guitar by itself it's hard to gauge the usefulness of its particular tones. Certain traits only show up at volume. And qualities which sound odd or harsh outside of a mix may work really well in a band context.

    But as always, YMMV.
     
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