What do you do for a test drive?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by jamesepowell, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell TDPRI Member

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    You're looking to buy a guitar. You pick it up to take it for a test drive. What do you play? How long do you play? What are you looking for? What tells you to go ahead and buy it? (Price considerations aside.)

    Curious what others do.

    ETA - I should have been more specific. By way of example. I've been shopping for a telecaster and there are many things to consider, but I noticed that without really thinking about it or making a conscious decision I always include the intro to Johnny B Goode, Listen to Her Heart by Tom Petty, and the solo from Kid by the Pretenders. Then I do some jazz chords in the middle of the neck. I don't always play the exact same things, but I do always play those things. I don't know exactly why.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  2. twangking

    twangking Tele-Afflicted

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    First thing I check is the price. Then I check for warped necks or construction errors with the guitar. Then I plug it in and play it to see if I like how it sounds. I'll play two or three songs all the way through. If I like it at that point, I'll purchase it.
     
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  3. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    First I see if the 335 and Twin will fit in the trunk.
     
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  4. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lots of heavy bending up around the 12th fret and up. Play all up the neck. Plug it in to the same model amps I own and see how it sounds. Give it a look over. Smell it. Check that it can cope with a low string action by pressing the strings down at the saddle, especially for acoustics and sighting down the neck, check string height at the nut. Bang on it and listen for rattles etc. That about covers it.
     
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  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If I don't like how it sounds unplugged, it goes back on the wall.
     
  6. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Neck feel and guitar body geometry and layout. Rarely plug in in a music store. Need to do a home evaluation to know.

    If a store won't let me return it after a home evaluation, I don't even bother. That's why I like GC.
     
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  7. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell TDPRI Member

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    What songs do you play? I recall Phil X of youtube & fretted americana saying that he always plays the solo from Hotel California.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I play my signature song, Blooze Wank in G, to get a feel for the neck.
     
  9. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Believe it or not, last time I went to Guitar Center, a guy was actually playing "Stairway to Heaven" way too loud. I nodded at one of the salesmen and rolled my eyes in the guys direction ... the salesman muttered something about that's the third encore of that same song.
     
  10. Rayf_Brogan

    Rayf_Brogan Tele-Meister

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    I let every note ring out to see if theres any dead spots. It looks ridiculous but I've found two guitars that the sustain died in a couple places. I couldn't telling it was a bridge, nut or fret issue, but it was enough to pass unless the guitar was unique.
     
  11. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I look at the color, and imagine how cool I will look playing it. I almost bought a black Gretsch, then at the last minute I saw (online) a red one! And that's what I bought.

    we used to test-drive cars before we bought them. But now I don't bother. They are all the same (in my price range); and the same is treue of guitars, in my experience.
     
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  12. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The one I buy is after playing a dozen of the same model into an amp similar to one of mine at home. I have violated this rule by purchasing on line too, but only with a free cost return shipping involved ... which I have done three times when buying as gifts for relatives. The neck feel and sound unplugged are my first pass indicators. I typically play my own bluesy songs, but it sort of depends on what I plan to play on that particular guitar. I always use a pick and fingerpick during my evaluation. When I was looking for a LP which took two years, every guitar store in the northwest had to put up with my Santana covers in a major way. No apologies, but I feel their pain when I hear Stairway to Heaven in a store.

    BTW, I always ask ahead if I can try my slide on a guitar ... out of respect for the store owner. And I always retune the guitar back into standard tuning when I'm done.
     
  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You and the salesman are so cool! Real rock desperados.

    What are approved songs for people to play when testing guitars?
     
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  14. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Do you do this in real life?

    Yeah, playing the cliche GC amp test song, if you must, quieter so it doesn't drown out everybody's thoughts would help, or go in the soundproof amp room.
     
  15. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
     
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  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Where is that? I don’t know any of those songs but want to make sure I don’t accidentally go there.
     
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  17. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Do what? I had to look up the Stairway solo when I read the post, but of course I recognized it when I heard it.

    I think it’s ******** that people who want to sell guitars **** on people trying them out with what may be the only songs they know. And for other guitar players to make them feel like **** for doing so.
     
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  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  19. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The neck is real important to me.
    Nut width, neck size, scale length, frets have to be right.
    I like at least 1 11/16 inch nut width, though I prefer the ever so slightly bigger 1 3/4 inch.
    I prefer a bigger neck, rounded and bound, if possible.
    I prefer 25 1/2 inch scale.
    I like medium jumbo frets.
    I prefer rosewood fretboards on F style guitars.
    I prefer two hum cancelling pickups.
    It also has to have three good, basic tones.
    1. A clear full neck pickup tone
    2. A clear jangly tone from both pickups
    3. A “cutting” bridge pickup
    I also like symmetry in wood joinery.
    I dislike off center seams.
    Admittedly, this does not affect the playability or sound.
    I’m fussy, but not obsessively so.
    I buy lots of guitar.
    I bond with about half of what I buy.
     
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  20. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bingo. This. I play unplugged in a corner; check for buzz and rattles. Up and down the neck, get a feel, see if it "speaks to me". If it does - back on the wall, and walk away. See how I feel the next day or two. Go back, and see if it still "speaks to me". Many guitars won't the second time.

    What if it gets sold, you ask? Aww, too bad, so sad, but there are plenty more where that came from.

    Only if and when I am ready to buy to I plug it in.

    And yes - this makes for a long, drawn out process. This is also why I don't own many.
     
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