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Pro Shop: Finding The Right Guitar & More (Part 2) PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 July 2008 23:28
phillores.jpgBy Phil Keaggy - GJD Contributor

Hi Readers and Friends,

Last time, I talked about some key points in looking for the right acoustic guitar to suit your needs. For electric guitars, I'd say much of the same thing regarding playability and pricing. In terms of the pickup system, the pickup system will most likely be more conventional-mostly 1 to 3 pickups. Some guitars today are made with a combination of magnetic pickups and piezo (bridge pickup) for an acoustic sound. My Parker Fly has this combination. It gives me many options for both live performance and in the studio.

The other thing about an electric I'd recommend is finding an instrument that doesn't weigh too much. I still play my 1971 Les Paul, and it is heavier now than it was when I was 22-so it seems ;-). Fender and Gibson, as well as Parker are making lightweight guitars that sound great! In fact there are so many to choose from. The new line of Gretsch guitars is fantastic as well. Come to think of it, there are even some real low priced guitars that have had a place in my guitar arsenal. Awhile back, I purchased a Fender Squier that cost me around $200.00 and I used it on several recordings. It sounded and played great! Sometimes things don't have to cost an arm and a leg to be up to par.

I also think the guitar should have decent quality tuning pegs so it stays in tune really well. There is nothing worse than a guitar that will not stay in tune, especially if you are just starting out. So if you have a decent guitar with poor quality tuners, by all means upgrade.

Lets talk a bit about action and tone; I have discovered that the action does play a part in the overall tone. String gauge does as well. Back in the day, I used ultra light gauge strings, and then as I progressed as an acoustic player, my hands became stronger, so I went to 10s on my electric. On occasion, I have put a small screwdriver up near the nut to raise the action for slide work-only in recordings though-and only on a cheaper electric. It works great as it raises the height of the string considerably. This is not essential, but I do like to explore a bit. Higher action and higher gauge strings equates to fatter tones. A lot of players will go out and buy a new amp to get better tone. So before you do that, you might consider changing your string gauge and tweaking your action, since that is a much more cost effective way to get better tone. Ultimately, you have to find what works best for your hands and allows you to play with as much ease as possible. It all comes down to what appeals to you as a player. Still the playability and sound are paramount in choosing the right guitar, in my opinion. Lastly, I will add this thought, being happy with your guitar and playing it all the time are the most important things.

Next time, I'll give you some detail about my own personal hand built acoustic guitars.

All the best to you pickers---
Phil Keaggy


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