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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

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)


[User Picture]
Date:July 24th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
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]
Date:July 24th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
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.

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