Guitar store saved me hundreds!

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Snfoilhat, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Snfoilhat

    Snfoilhat Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't enjoy the atmosphere of music instrument stores great or small and haven't bought a guitar in one since my Fender Jag-stang in 1996! But if, like me, you want to rely on the crowd's wisdom here on TDPRI with regard to what new guitars people like and which they don't, then I guess you also have to follow the commonly offered advice: play it yourself and find out.

    So today I walked to the big-box guitar place with a pick in my pocket and a spring in my step.

    My serious purpose was to get a feel for the Squier and Fender necks with a couple different profiles and a couple different fretwire sizes. I play a Warmoth strat regular thin neck with narrow-tall frets, to which I wanted to compare the Fender offerings.

    The top row of Fenders required a ladder and the middle row had locks on all the hangers, so I only played the $400-800 stuff on the lowest row of guitars.

    I played the Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster, 'special'(?) Player series Jaguar (it had a gloss neck instead of satin and a little sticker on the back of the headstock), Player series strat (the white one and the cool shell pink one), Chris Shiflett tele deluxe, Squier contemporary jazzmaster, Squier bullet mustang HH, Squier CV 70s strat, and at the very end of the row was a used G&L Legacy that had maybe been re-racked in the wrong place or just didn't fit in the used section. Player series tele honorable mention, some dude was waling away on it the entire time I was in the store.

    1. What's great is that so much that I had read finally clicked into place with the actual shapes and feel of the guitars. The JMJM neck really is a little bigger, the satin finishes really are a little different feeling, etc.

    2. What's really great is that I found every guitar I played but one to be really not what I wanted. Not even close to what I was looking for. I've had 4-5 Stratosphere tabs open in my browser cross-checking specs w/ Fender and planning out a purchase for weeks.

    And now I'm not. $ saved at the guitar-a-thon! Cheers
     
  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Just you wait. When you bite it will be for a Custom Shop model :lol:
     
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  3. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Do I understand you correctly that you went to try out a bunch of different guitars and were saved money by the fact that they were available at GC (presumably the Emeryville location?) and that you got to play them and that really none of them (except one was to your liking)? And that's how the Guitar-a-Thon saved you money?

    If so, I understand completely. I'm hardly a guru of the build-your-own world, but I have made a few amps and a Telecaster and now have less and less need to tool around in a GC. I am almost never looking to buy anything. That said, I did recently buy a used Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro through GC's website. I think that's the third guitar I've bought through GC used and sight-unseen, and I've always had great success.
     
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  4. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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  5. Snfoilhat

    Snfoilhat Tele-Afflicted

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    All of this was out of the sense that I way overpaid for the warmoth neck I have now, and to avoid overpaying again now that I am feeling like I'd like to try out all-maple. Neck+nut+tuners at almost $500 is just more than I ever want to spend again. I saw a player series neck plus tuners for $230ish, and it got me motivated to investigate.

    For a few years now I've seen totally credible opinions that the Squiers are better than cheap guitars have ever been, and the Mexican guitars are as good as USA, or USA of ten years ago, or a variety of opinions with the central idea that there's no good reason for mass-produced guitars to be over $1000 anymore. All of that may still be true. I want it to be true.

    Maybe it's the edges on the fingerboard. I could be thrown off by a minor difference in the manufacturing process meant to save a few bucks on the lower-end products or to provide a little nudge to experienced guitar players to pick up the USA guitars. The only guitar I played today that feels like my neck or my buddy's usa strat which I like OK was the usa legacy. I don't feel like I'm gonna win a prize for investigative journalism with this finding.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
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  6. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    What feels right for you, is right for you ..
    You can't find it if you don't try out multiple guitars ... When you find the right one, you will have no doubt about buying it ... It may take some time... Patience is a virtue...
     
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  7. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

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    I always feel good when I walk into a shop convinced I'm gonna buy a guitar and walk out empty handed. It means my common sense is still working and that my hands (and ears) know what I like, even if my brain doesn't.
     
  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One mighty great thing about the large guitar box store is you get to try a lot of guitars out before any contemplation of purchase. I have rarely bought a guitar at these stores, but I have played hundreds of guitars while visiting them to help me find out what I really like.

    Yeah, I know, this is why they are suffering.:oops:
     
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  9. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    I recently decided I wanted a strat, and instead of building one with expensive parts like a Warmoth neck I'd get something much less expensive and maybe tweak it. I too went to GC and Sam Ash and played their stuff starting on the less expensive row and didn't find anything that really grabbed me until I got to a MIJ Aerodyne strat -$900 getting close to the monetary cost of a really nice DIY with a Warmoth neck - and even then I found myself wanting a maple fingerboard, wider at the nut, and different frets.

    Unlike your wise decision just not to buy, my conclusion was that this is obviously a sign that I need to build a strat with a Warmoth neck. I called them and half jokingly said they had ruined me with the feel of their neck I put on my tele build.

    I still dont have a strat but I do have a DIY build that's coming along nicely.
    received_2513704458705323.jpeg
     
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  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I save hundreds from just buying nice unfinished necks and cheap bodies and fitting them out and finishing them myself. The stores are handy to try different necks and pickups out though.
    If non poly finished guitars weren't so expensive i'd probably consider more store purchases of factory models.
     
  11. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's

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    The last two guitars I’ve bought have been 46- and 25-years-old with well-played necks. That was the epiphany for me. They’re like coming home from wearing a suit all day and putting on sweat pants :D
     
  12. zammie

    zammie TDPRI Member

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    I recently did the same, checking out the highest end guitars at a big store, checking out the necks on them and how the law of diminishing returns operate for what I like. It was an eye opening experience for me too, and helped me nunderstand what I do like and didn't.

    While I envy the range and crazy deals many of you guys get in the USA, I do feel sorry at the same time cos it is often not possible to try them first-hand and it makes it rather an expensive try and see process for something like a guitar which can vary in feel even between two of the same model. Online specs just don't cut it.
     
  13. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, if you go to big box guitar merchandisers, why n earth would you expect anything but a ridiculous experience highlighted by no access to really good guitars, and indifferent treatment from the sales nimrods? I have been in innumerable GCs and they all suck. On the other hand, I have been in innumerable independent guitar retailers, both new and used, and have a hard time recalling anything but good, helpful experiences and access to infinitely better guitars (and pedals, for that matter). I get great treatment, possibly because I am respectful, ask good questions, treat guitars with great care, and often buy from these people rather than pulling the try in the store/buy off the web crap that unethical people pull. Even in great shops like Norman's Rare Guitars, I have been treated like a valued buyer and a human being. I find that these sellers like helping and enjoy talking and showing guitars. I have no trouble walking away, but am equally ready to buy if I find something.
     
  14. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    ^This.
    Several times, people or parents within my social circle have asked me to pick out a guitar for them (or their kids)...I say I’ll help direct them in the right direction, but I can’t tell them “buy this guitar.”

    I liken it to buying underwear. I know what I like and what’s comfortable for me, but I can’t do the same for them, because we don’t have the same butt.

    Likewise, we all have different hands, body shapes, physiology and preferred sound and “fit”, as well as plying technique...my main Telecaster is heavy, has a medium-sized neck and low action (which works for my arthritic medium-to-large hands); add the kinda odd pickup contingency, 4-way switch and No-Load Tone Pot, and I have some features you might not like or may not work for everyone. Finally, I play my Telecaster with the “ashtray” bridge cover in place—which some people find uncomfortable or dang near impossible.
    My Telecaster might not fit your butt.

    So I can point them in a particular direction—based on their musical tastes, their heroes, and their physiology (it would be hard for a small, skinny 10-year-old to play a Gibson 12/6 double-neck, no matter how much that kid likes Led Zeppelin), but I can’t pick out a guitar for them.

    One other thing—I think the neck is the most personal piece of the guitar, feel-wise...so I’m glad if you’ve figured out what you like, but it’s pretty hard to specifically recommend something to someone else.
     
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  15. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted

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    ^^^ I tell people to find so
    Etching that’s inexpensive and feels good in their hands. If they’re still playing in 6 months, we’ll talk about higher end quality guitars.

    After having completed 3 builds most recently, I also have gone to big box, and haven’t found anything that I like for the price I want.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I am very guilty of buying things I see on line without really knowing what I need to know. Neck shape and feel are so important. Also guitar size overall. A trip to a music store can be a very good thing. I hope we continue to have them around. "Take a breath, think about what's important, seek it out" is my new purchasing motto... not that I will be able to stick to it! Reselling stuff that doesn't work out is difficult.
    The Ibanez George Benson I bought a while back is a direct result to the music store. Wasn't even on my radar. They happened to have one and they are beautiful, so I played it just to check it out. Turns out it was pretty close to what I wanted!
     
  17. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I don't even know which line to respond with. :lol:
     
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  18. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I saved thousands by buying very cheap guitars that looked cool. I do have a few nice guitars (none over $300 except the $600 Gretsch). But I am just as happy playing a $100 very-used Hohner Telecaster copy, or a no-name Japanese Lead II copy. I don't worry about the size of the frets, or what kind of wood the necks are made of. None of that is gonna make me play better or worse.
     
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  19. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Meister

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    Wow! What is that body??
     
  20. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    Guy goes by Taurowoodworks on eBay. Built that to order: arched cherry top, poplar back. His price-to-nice ratio is way on the positive side.
     
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