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July 24th, 2007


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10:40 am - Guitars, classical basses, chainsaws, and bonesaws
So, I'm now the proud owner of the family guitar. There's just one problem: it's in dire need of a re-string. After fighting with the thing for about two hours last night, I have come to the conclusion that the current strings simply cannot be tuned: they are not only older than me, but frayed in places, anyway, and the sound. . . well, bagpipes sound almost musical in comparison.

So, for those of you who play guitar, could you let me in on what brand I should seek out, and what I might expect to pay? I know a lot about classical stringed instruments, but next to nothing about guitars. I suspect that there's not much of a difference at the most basic level, but just because one knows a lot about chainsaw blades doesn't mean they know anything about bonesaw blades.

So, please do enlighten me: I need something fit for learning the instrument, and something that provides reasonably warm sound for a low cost (all strings need replacement). The guitar is an acoustic, and a fairly cheap one at that (we are not a very musical family, I'm afraid).

It would be nice if they also tuned easily, but I'm used to fighting with tuning.

Now, I just need to find my pitch pipe, which is around here somewhere. . .
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Turnabout", -JB

(19 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:viedansante
Date:July 24th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
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I used to play tunes with a guy who owns a guitar shop on High Street. I'll send you the info.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 24th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
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Cool, got it, and thank you.
[User Picture]
From:acousticdryad
Date:July 24th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
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I use Dean Markley strings for my guitar, about $7:
http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/demavibracgu.html

Let me know if you have any questions :) I'm not a guru or anything.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 24th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Do you have a suggested gauge?
[User Picture]
From:solemn_druid
Date:July 24th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
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Ernie Ball strings are really swell, in my own opinion
http://www.ernieball.com/

and under products, my personal favorites would be the Earthwood 80/20 bronze
http://www.ernieball.com/products/strings/earthwood-80-20-bronze-strings/

You can order them at Guitar Center Online, page 2 of ernie ball products:
http://www.guitarcenter.com/shop/home/navigation?N=100005&Ntk=GCAll&Ntt=ernie+ball&Nty=1&page=2

the medium-lights are 4.89

Hope this somewhat helps :)

would you bring it sunday so i could see?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 24th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
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If I can fit it, yes. It also has no case, so that may pose a problem, too.

But like I said, it's a cheap guitar. It's just the "family guitar" because it's got a bit of family history (more than I do, technically, since it's older than me).

My Great Uncle Gus bought it for another (slightly more distant) relative, Dan, who never played it, so it went to my mother and now to me.
[User Picture]
From:incendiary_dan
Date:July 25th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
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I have to disagree about the Ernie Ball, because the guitar strings tend to lose tuning too quickly. They're great for bass, but my experience with their guitar strings has been iffy.
[User Picture]
From:solemn_druid
Date:July 25th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
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yeah, but to be fair, all your guitars are in your house, which is out in the country, you also have AC on/eventual moisture, etc., perhaps more than others. I've used EB on the Fender and the Ovation and found them WAY more able than any set i've used. Sebastian's, who's guitar gets cased WAY too much, noticed them loosing but discovered it's because there was a moisture leak in his case.
[User Picture]
From:incendiary_dan
Date:July 25th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
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Except...

My house is very moisture free, in fact due to the AC. We're instrument fanatics, so of course we wouldn't let them be exposed to excessive moisture. We also have them in very good cases most of the time.

Fender strings are preferable.
[User Picture]
From:dragynphyre
Date:July 24th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)
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I like nylon strings to practice on - steel strings cut the hell out of my fingers, but sound better.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 24th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
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Duly noted, thanks! That's a central issue I've had with these strings, too, is that they cut. They're definitely cheap steel strings.
[User Picture]
From:airthesea
Date:July 24th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
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My father used to play... well, everything; including guitar.

You can have a guitar lesson and they can teach you the proper way to replace and tune strings. A good pro can teach you this in one sitting. :-)

BTW
Bagpipes are damn cool.
:-P
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 24th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
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Bagpipes are quite cool. But they still sound like cats that have been squeezed to me :) I don't think that their rather obnoxious sound takes away from their musicality or their coolness. It just makes it more fun to poke fun at them!
[User Picture]
From:maugorn
Date:July 24th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
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Speaking as someone whose living depends on guitars:

I would, if the guitar has not been played for a very long time, take it to the music store and have it looked at by a someone who knows at least a thing or two.

1) They can tell what gauge strings you have(had) on there.

2) After all these years they can also tell you if there's any problem with warpage or the neck bending askew. You might (almost probably) need your 'action' (string height from the fretboard) adjusted. When it's too high, not only will it be harder to play but it may not play in tune at all. Your not quite best case scenario, but likely, is that you'll need the "truss rod" adjusted. This is a metal reinforcement rod in the neck that can be adjusted so as to keep the neck straight. If that's all you need, it'll take a competent technician minutes to do, and not so long to change your strings or show you how. But guitars, when they are strung to tension and left for long periods of time, sometimes won't age well.
You have a chance of big problems or some repairs that might cost a little bit.

The good news is that if it's well built, it probably won't be too bad, and if the guitar is indeed, "shot", decent starter guitars can be had for less than $200 new.

BTW. Thrift store guitars ain't such a bargain anymore, you can buy better new for what they charge for old, broken and crappy.

Good luck.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 24th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. Lots of good advice there.

I'm honestly not sure if this guitar has ever been played. I suspect, actually, that it has not.

And, if it's shot, well, then it's shot. It can still look pretty on the wall, I suppose.

I'll call a shop and ask if I can bring it in tomorrow.
[User Picture]
From:deedeehopskotch
Date:July 25th, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
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If you ever need to know about bone saws, you know who to ask.
[User Picture]
From:whitmanschild
Date:July 25th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
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Lots of good advice above.

I play a classical guitar rather than acoustic. I prefer the warmer sound of nylon strings--that and they're much easier on the fingers. If you're gonna be on steel strings and wanna save your fingers some pain, I'd suggest a lighter gauge and having the shop set the action as close to the fretboard as they feel comfortable doing. But some of it is just building up the calluses on your fingers. There's not really a way around that part.

Good luck with the guitar.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:July 25th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
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I can take a look at it next time I'm over, I'm no guitar god, but I know the basics. As people previously mentioned, strings aren't too expensive, you can borrow my tuner if you want too.
[User Picture]
From:suicidekttn
Date:July 25th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
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I just pulled my Classical guitar out after years and had no clue. I just walked into Guitar Center (Like lentine's, a generic music shop...but specific to guitars.) I walked up to the guy went "I need guitar strings for a Classical guitar. I haven't played in years and don't remember what strings I liked." He grabbed me a set and said most people liked them and it was about $7 with tax. I'd suggest just doing that.

And bagpipes rock, I don't know what you're talking about ;)

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