The internet has led to changes that would have been impossible to understand just a decade ago. Buying a guitar in Jamul without hearing it is one such change. But keep a few things in mind when you do it and it can be a convenient way to score a good instrument at a good price.
There’s really two kinds of people who should be buying their guitars in Jamul, experts or really serious guitar players and beginners. The first group knows exactly what kind of guitar they want, and at that level of price and quality they can be assured that that particular guitar will be terrific. Beginners don’t really care as much, so long as it has six strings and can play. The truth is each guitar is unique as its made out of a particular sheet of wood that experiences conditions unlike any of its fellow models at the factory. Each sheet is alive, and guitars can age with grace or misery depending on how they’re maintained. This needs to be kept in mind when looking at a store in Jamul, but even still it’s possible to find great sale.
By far, the most important thing you can do to protect your
acoustic guitar is to control the humidity of its environment. Ask
any guitar repair person. They are the ones who see, time and time
again, the damage done to guitars and other fretted instruments by
humidity levels which are too low.
Most acoustic guitars are the happiest in a relative humidity (RH)
above 40%. In fact, most acoustic guitars are built in a relative
humidity range of 45%-50%. The greatest danger to your guitar
occurs during the fall, winter and early spring. In cold
temperatures you need to heat your home; and when you heat your
home, the air in your home becomes drier. It can often drop to less
than half of the RH of the factory in which your guitar was built!
When the RH of your (and your guitar's) home descends to lower than
35%, all kinds of terrible things can happen. Cracks can occur in
the top, the bridge can lift from the top and the neck angle can
change. The warranties of most guitar manufacturers will exclude
guitars that have been stored in an inappropriate humidity. The
necessary repairs can be quite pricey.
The good news in all of this is that the solution is quite simple.
Store you guitar in a hardshell case and keep and maintain an
in-case humidifier. There are a number of different brands and
types of humidifiers on the market, in prices ranging from about
$12-$20. Check with your music dealer for the best one for you.
Don't forget to check and add water as often as necessary. If you
really want to keep on top of things, purchase a hygrometer (a
humidity meter). These can cost anywhere from $50 to $150, but an
economy model will be accurate enough.
Another important factor in caring for your instrument is, don't
use strings that are too heavy (thick). Most manufactures suggest
that you use light gauge strings, not mediums. Some players balk at
this, but the fact is, volume and tone are often more a matter of
playing technique than of string gauge. If you have a vintage
guitar, you might want to consider extra-lights. Another route you
can go (which I do with most of my vintage instruments), is to use
"silk and steel" strings. I think these are just wonderful, for a
number of reasons: but one is, they put much less stress on your
guitar. Read my article, "Acoustic Guitar Strings--The Merits of
Silk & Steel" at:
One other important caution regarding the care of your guitar: If
you use a capo, do not leave the capo on the instrument when you're
not playing it. The capo, when clamped on the neck, holds the
strings down on the fretboard and creates extra tension on the neck
and the top of the guitar. All acoustic guitars are destined, at
some point in time, to have problems due to the tension of the
strings. Why hasten the process by leaving a capo clamped on your
Taking these steps to care for your acoustic guitar may seem a bit
burdensome, at first. But if you start applying these principles
now, your guitar will give you many years of playing pleasure.
Copyright © 2007 Lee Griffith. All rights reserved.
How to Buy a Pawn Shop Guitar the Safe Way
The most obvious advantage the guitar has over other instruments is its portability. Unlike a baby grand piano, you can easily pack your guitar around on your shoulder in a carrying case. I bought my first guitar when I was a sophomore in high school. It was a Stella, purchased for twenty-nine dollars from George Porcella, the proprietor of Porcella's Music Store in Gilroy, California. Since then, I have owned, sold, traded, pawned or lost a dozen or so more.
My love for the guitar soared in 1978 when I first heard world-renown classical guitar master Andres Segovia's The Intimate Guitar album. I listened to it on the recommendation of a teacher I had just begun taking classical lessons from in Santa Cruz. Capitalizing on the guitar's ability to produce both melodic and harmonic sound, Segovia was able to make his guitar sound like two separate instruments. In addition to being the world's most recognized classical performer, Segovia did much throughout his life to increase the popularity of his beloved instrument. He produced instruction books and materials, transcribed classical music to fit the guitar and held concerts, seminars and workshops throughout the world.
Prior to that time I began studying classical guitar, I had been able to play folk and country songs in the style of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson using three simple chords. My newly learned music theory, coupled with a more developed ear, opened up a new world of learning and enjoyment for me. The right and left hand techniques used in guitar playing gave my body a better sense of balance and integration than playing a wind or brass instrument.
The guitar offers players the opportunity to experiment with techniques and create different styles and picking patterns, from Flamingo to Travis picking. Likewise, you can change and invent new musical styles by changing the type or thickness of your strings. You can also change guitar types from a classical nylon string, to a steel string acoustic. Electric pick-ups as well as electric guitars with amps and foot pedal attachments allow the player to increase volume and add special sound effects. Guitars can be played with a pick or with a variety of finger-pickings styles.
Still, the guitar has other has advantages too. Unlike most brass and wind instruments, you can play complex four, five and six note chords on a guitar. Although the use of a capo is frowned on by classical players, its use in other styles gives players the unique ability to quickly change keys to adjust to a singers vocal range or preferences.
This versatile instrument is also one of the few you hold over your heart. To the serious player like myself, this not only enhances the tone you produce from the strings, but makes your playing one with your voice.
If you are getting ready to take the plunge into the world of electric guitars, brace yourself. There is a lot of information out there on brands, models, and styles of this sort of guitar - not to mention the myriad of accessories you can purchase to give you a complete package. For first time buyers, you'll need to understand some absolutely basic information on electric guitars.
First things first - you need to know what types are available. There are really three basic kinds: electric guitars, electric basses, and acoustic electric guitars. Before you jump right in and purchase one, take a look and a listen around you to determine which one has really caught your interest. You don't want to end up with something you did not intend to buy.
The electric guitar is what you typically see on television; it has six strings and can be played as a solo or accompaniment instrument in just about any genre of music. The electric bass closely resembles the electric guitar; however, it typically features four strings. This instrument is responsible for laying down those low bass lines, and once in a while, you'll see it featured in a killer solo. Finally, the acoustic electric is a versatile piece of musical equipment that doesn't have to be plugged in to generate sound. You'll see it on stage and at coffee houses frequently, as well as around the campfire or at church.
More Advanced Types
Now that you've got the basic information on this type of guitar, you need to know that there are some variations available. For example, there is the 12-string acoustic electric, which is exactly what it sounds like - an acoustic electric guitar with 12 strings instead of six. Another variation is a five stringed bass guitar. If you're a first time buyer, these are probably not what you are looking for, but it's important to know what is available.
When you purchase a guitar, there are a few additional items you might want to gather. One is an amplifier, especially if you've gone with a standard electric. You won't get any sound of it unless you buy an amp. Another thing you definitely need is a case to protect your gear. Guitar cases come in all shapes and sizes, and they are also available in hard and soft styles. The style is not as important as the fact that you need to protect your instrument from the elements, stray children, and clumsy Labrador retrievers. A few other items that will go well with your purchase are guitar picks and an electric tuner.
If you're purchasing your guitar from a reputable music store, the staff should be able to provide you with excellent information on electric guitars. Musical instruments are a serious investment, and not just in the amount of money that they cost. To master guitar playing, you'll need to spend time and energy on practicing. Take pride in your electric guitar, and you'll surely be happy with the results!