When a guitar is just a dog, lemon, whatever....

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by tfarny, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Holic

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    The amp you play through matters, because it's at least half (probably way more) of the tone recipe.

    And tone is so subjective, to the point that squawking sounds to one person may be creamy endless sustain to another. Think about it this way: if there were an ultimately ideal guitar and ideal amp that made the True Sounds of Heaven, everybody would be playing it and many makers would be out of business.

    Despite that, some guitars are just duds. And some are gems right off the rack.

    Play ten identical guitars (same make/model) side by side, and one of them will sound better than the others. One of them will feel and play better than the others. If you're lucky, one guitar will the the one that sounds best *and* plays best. The real beauty of all this is you can walk away with the best sounding one, and then dial in the setup to get it playing great.
     
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  2. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ever hear of people getting a guitar and not liking it much, putting it in the case and shoving it under the bed or putting it in a closet for years and sometimes a decade or more, only to pull it out much later and be floored by a wonderful sounding guitar?

    Wine gets better with age and some guitars need that time for changes to happen in the wood's molecular make up to have that good tone. Some guitars sound good out of the box and some don't, but they all tend to sound better down the road.

    My avatar guitar wasn't the best sounding guitar when I got it. After the Mahogany neck broke from the wood being very brittle and being knocked over by my then 3 year old daughter, I replaced the neck with one made of Maple that I got on discount and it now sounds good.
     
  3. Alter

    Alter Tele-Meister

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    Play the guitar for a few hours/days, it may improve..
     
  4. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Holic

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    does it also suck when played dry`?
     
  5. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to give the frets a good polishing and really fine tune the action, maybe I'll be able to look at the electronics and get some more data. I think there are multiple issues contributing to the "suck" feeling, some of which can be fixed by me easily and some (fret crowning) which I would take to my guy. I even have a Gibson P90 in a box in my attic, which I know nothing about except that it measures 8.0k and makes me think it's intended for neck position. But if there is something really wrong with the bridge pickup I could possibly swap that in to see if it made a diff.

    I just strummed it a bit, and it doesn't sound particularly like poo unplugged. Sounds in the ballpark of what a solidbody tends to sound like.
     
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  6. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    Is she telling you she doesn’t play it because it sounds bad ? Or does it sound bad to you, perhaps after her telling you she dosen’t play it.
    Either way unless there is a noticeable electro/ mechanical issue, you may be simply be painting w/the wrong color.

    It could be a bad amp paring, a odd cable thing, the room in your work space or her rehearsal space. Set it up within spec, and then try some easily reversible changes. Get some other ears on it if you can, what you hear in the room is always very different in your lap.
     
  7. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    I learned an important lesson about dogs and gems when teching for a local shop. We had a Roy Orbison signature model ES335 come in as a part ex - great looking guitar, I was quite excited to see it. Set it up, sounded dreadful, like someone had thrown a blanket over the amp. Tried everything I could think of to get it to ring out a bit more, no luck. Asked the other tech to take a look, he thought the same and couldn't get it any better. We eventually gave up and put it out on the sales floor with a couple of 'better get used to this one folks, it's gonna be here a while' comments. A guy came in a few days later, great player, had owned 335s before, absolutely loved it and bought it on the spot. Moral of the story, just because you think it's a dog doesn't mean the next guy is going to agree with you.

    The main thing I do find running the racks of new guitars is there ar we things to do with build quality - necks that have an odd shape to them that goes beyond what a trussrod can tweak would be a good example - that you could say objectively marks that guitar down as a lemon. But if it's down to tone, it's too much in the eye of the beholder. One man's dark is another's muddy, one man's harsh is another bright and lively. It's usually enough too say 'that ones not for me' and move on.
     
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  8. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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  9. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    Your ears ( actually the whole ENT thing)also change as do your listening habits, all of this comes into how you hear things, down the road.
     
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  10. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Then this is most likely an electric problem. Electronics and/or Pickups.
     
  11. gwjensen

    gwjensen Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Had a PRS Bernie Marsden that was just a dog, plain and simple.

    Bought it used on a a whim (looked great). It was well made and I had perfectly set it up, but it just sounded dead. I tried different string gauges, pickup heights, relief and action adjustments, all to no avail.

    I changed the pickups, but that only made a marginal improvement. I even changed the bridge to a higher end model that was supposed to improve contact with the body, but that didn’t help at all.

    On reflection, it had no acoustic resonance, like the body was a black hole absorbing the tone instead of projecting it. I concluded that guitar would never sound good no matter what I did, and I learned that if they don’t resonate unplugged they’re probably not going to sound good plugged in.
     
  12. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sometimes, you just get a bad one ... And sometimes you get a good one ... Choose carefully before you pay ... Unless you have a great return policy ...
     
  13. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    The pickups read 7.8 neck, 7.7 bridge - basically yeah, they are the same pickup. Looks like normal single coil P90s. The pots and caps are on a board, what crazy nonsense. How much money does that save anyhow?
    Anyhow, it does not look as if the electronics have any issue, and everything measures to spec. I'll focus on giving it a nice setup and give it back, see what she says - and see if she wants to borrow my strat for a few days just to try out something different. This is the first guitar I've worked on and looked closely at in a while that just does not GAS me, though.
     

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  14. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like that SG has 300k pots. Swap them for 500k and enjoy the beautiful P90 toanz.
     
  15. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I bought a new SG Standard in 2017 and it came with Humbuckers. Did they come with P90s for awhile or did someone drop P90s in it? Maybe as DADGAD said it needs the pots changed to go with the P90s.

    Just asking questions. Mine with Humbuckers sounds great.
     
  16. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Well, I took it all apart, put it back together, polished frets, oiled board, adjusted action and relief, screwed the tailpiece all the way down and top-wrapped the new strings, lubed the nut, intonated, and got the pickups evenly balanced for volume. That bridge pickup did indeed have to go right up under the strings to sound ok. I guess there's nothing "wrong" with the guitar that a normal setup couldn't more or less fix. I'm not going to jump into electronics changes without the owner's say-so, and I doubt she would want to get into that stuff anyhow, she's kind of anti-gear in general. Like if you guys are gravity, she is anti-gravity. So we'll see how she likes it now that it plays fine and sounds at least normal. The thick neck and flat radius are probably still not ideal for her hands, but that's up to her.

    I retract my "dog" label for this one, and instead would call it only mediocre.
     
  17. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Holic

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    Sorry, but when there's a P90 SG thread, somehow I'm compelled to drag this picture out.... Signed by Pete, backstage at Louisville. I did the overspray (jeeze, after a few "sharpie on lacquer tests... ) and blended it at the volute and sides of the headstock. And yah, Gibby didn't put the G string tuner on straight... can't bear to fix it though. Doesn't hurt nothin'.
     
  18. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just needs 500k pots and a .022 cap and it should be ready. Of course that would mean pulling the board and going old school.

    Been wanting a SG with 2 P90's for some time, just not having the cash flow for now.

    What amp is she using?
     
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