July 12th, 2012, 10:08 PM
I am trading for a Taylor 310ce tomorrow. I have never " bought " a used acoustic before. Any telltale major problems I can look for to make sure I am not getting taken? I build my own Teles, so I am technically adept. Help a brother out!
July 12th, 2012, 10:43 PM
Look for any cracks, look EVERYwhere....
July 12th, 2012, 11:18 PM
see if you can slide a piece of paper between the bridge and the body. i was told that can tell you if the bridge is lifting which could mean it is too dried out i think. or maybe two wet. check for secure tuners on the head stock and heavy dents on the frets under the strings. i think these 310 series all have the taylor expression system pickups so try to plug it in. i just got a 314ce about a week ago and it truly is a quality guitar. check for frets comfortable in their slots and make sure it is the sound you like. enjoy
July 13th, 2012, 12:40 AM
I've bought/sold probably 60 flattops over the years so I can now size one up pretty quickly. The Taylor 310CE is a pretty sturdy beast but any guitar can be mistreated.
Here's what I check and with a Taylor 310CE I'll assume that there is zero chance of it being a 'fake so nothing to inspect there like there's be with vintage Gibsons, etc.:
1. Saddle height, string height from frets and relief. You want a guitar that plays well or that can be made to play well simply. How does it play up/down the neck for you? Play it just like you play normally. Action is of course adjustable, you are looking for stuff that is not easily fixed.
2. Bridge, the glue join: has it been reglued and/or shaved to allow more saddle lowering? Original, uncracked, etc?
3. Any cracks that were not well repaired, open top seam or back seam, open binding joint, etc. How is the neck join to the body?
4. Any sign of loose braces (rattling, top belly, internal inspection with a light, etc.).
5. Original finish.
6. Truss rod works in both directions with action set up as you like it.
7. Top is not excessively lifted below the bridge. Most guitar tops will have some 'belly' to them, that's how they are designed but a big bulge with the bridge tilted down toward the neck is not good (loose bracing or design issues).
8. No top sinkage (bridge really 'diving' down into the sound hole!).
9. General structural integrity of the guitar. I have guitars with very heavy play wear/multiple cracks that I bought because all was stable and I knew what I was doing.
10. Tuners work well? No slop or play?
11. Sight down the neck. It will have some 'relief' but should not be twisted laterally. If is it should show up in the following...
11. Intonation: Check it up/down the register with your plain old ear. It should be good at 3, 5, 9, 12th fret. I had one old Gibson that was really off only at the 2-3rd fret but way off there. Go figure...
12. How do you like the tone/vibe/playability for what you do? Does it feel good to you or just 'not right'? If not right, take a walk unless you know your way around the things.
OK, this is a long but not exhaustive list & think in most cases a Taylor 310CE will present none of these issues. I've really only seen one Taylor that was 'let go' for years and it needed a neck press or new neck, but that was a very rare exception. Most Taylors owners seem to keep 'em pretty pristine.