Your Cart is Empty

What You Need To Know About Buying a Guitar On-Line : Vaughn’s Guide to Guitar Reviews

by vaughn skow March 31, 2015 2 min read

Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top PRO FXGibson Les Paul Future Tribute Guitar

Howdy friends!  Sooo, today I was researching a couple guitars, to see if the ones I just picked up used were indeed the good buys I thought they were (An Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top PRO/FX and a Gibson Les Paul Future Tribute) .  Now, I generally go straight to reviews from places like Musicians Friend and Sweetwater to see what other buyers of a particular guitar have to say about it.  And, as is always the case, I felt that some of the buyers/reviewers just don’t understand the whole “mail-order” guitar concept.  Let’s discuss that.

First, if you only remember ONE THING from this blog, remember this:  If a guitar is shipped to you, you should EXPECT that it will need at least a rudimentary set-up.  This is even more so the case in extreme weather conditions (read my blog on cold-weather guitar care).

Man, I get tired of people complaining that a guitar arrived at their doorstep from a thousand miles away and actually needed a setup.  DUDE, get a clue!  If a guitar spends the better part of a week (or more) in an un-climate controlled truck traveling through massive changes in temperature, pressure, and humidity, chances are good that it will need a little tweaking on the set-up.  If by chance it arrives with the setup just exactly the way you personally like it, then consider it a big bonus, but do not take it for granted as what you can usually expect.

Which of course leads me to the next piece of this set-up rant: personal preference.  Fact is, one man’s barely playable guitar is another man’s dream set-up.  Personal preference is an opinion, it’s not a fact.

So, here are some areas that you can EXPECT a guitar to need a little love in after a long and trying journey to arrive at your door. If you feel insecure addressing any of these, take it to a qualified and recommended luthier.

  • Truss-Rod tweaking
  • Action (string height) adjustment
  • Intonation (string length) tweaking
  • Fret dressing (in extreme cold/dry conditions)

Okay, so … how about those things that do NOT change in shipping and therefore SHOULD be mentioned in a review.  It’s totally okay to be subjective here, since these are all items that folks will like or hate to varying degrees

  • Electronics like pickups, pots & switches
  • Neck shape/profile (but remember, this is a personal preference)
  • Fit & finish
  • Features/appointments
  • Included accessories
  • Overall and specific tone(s)
  • Overall and specific Feel(s)

Oh, and when reviewing a guitar on-line, please list your experience and musical style.   And for those reading reviews, take this important info into account.  The reviews I give the most weight to are those that come from pro players with at least a couple decades under their belts, and preferably in many genres.  The “this is my first guitar and I play metal” review is generally one I skip over!  Nuff said, now go buy a guitar.

emailVaughn   About Vaughn Skow 

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.