Is it too much to ask?

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Shade
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Is it too much to ask?

#1 Post by Shade » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:39 am

There is a night and day difference between a well setup guitar, and one that you find laying in a back alley covered with deceased rat bodies(Guitar R Us.) Unfortunately, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find a quality, well setup, sanitary, guitar in just about every retailer out there. Even smaller stores that specialize in certain brands will rarely have their guitars setup to perfection. This is because they want you to shell out your hard earned cash, then come back and spend 3x the amount you paid for the guitar for upgrades, and fine tuning.

Understandable. There are millions of different combinations of pickups, string gauges, electronics to factor in. There is no one thing that will satisfy everyone. I understand that guitar stores can't fine tune every instrument to perfection. But is it too much to ask to actually have nice, playable instruments out to try? In a perfect world, no, but people like Billy Bob are why we can't. (see below for Billy Bob example)

I think we would all agree that 99% of the people out there want their guitar to stay in tune(though the way some play, you'd think they are doing it on purpose, or just don’t notice), people want the guitar to feel clean. I don’t mean like, you can see your reflection in it, but strings that feel like they were used in a pre-schoolers glue and glitter project are unacceptable, I don't –care- who you are, I think we can agree on this.


"but some people aren't OCD, and don't really notice or care!" -Billy Bob

And you're the kind of person that shouldn't walk into a guitar store and pickup every instrument and grope it with your ice cream hands while you rape everyone's ears within 5 square miles with your unique interpretation of Smoke on the Water. Not saying you shouldn't play, but please, have some courtesy to us musicians.


(The sad truth of the matter is that Billy Bob is the majority of where the money comes from, which is all that matters)

I write this because the other day I was in Guitar Center and had the opportunity to play a JEM7V and a JS1200 guitar. I was really excited until I plugged into an amp(Vox). I use this Vox amp because it almost always sounds good, even with cheap guitars, that way I can play and go mainly on how the guitar feels rather than it's tone.

I know these are nice guitars, but the way they were setup and the condition of the strings were unspeakably horrible. If I had played these guitars blind-folded I would have put them on par with a $99 bullet strat. My epiphone les paul studio played 10X better and sounded better through the vox amp than these guitars did in their current state. No one in their right mind would buy these guitars at that price in that kind of condition. Sure they could pay to have them setup, but if you're going to do that just order from Rich where you're guaranteed an awesome product.


How do I know if I will like them if my only experience with them leaves me grabbing the nearest squier strat for re-assurance?


My question: Is there any guitar retailer in the South East that carries high end guitars that the keep setup and in good playing condition?

Desert_Runner
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#2 Post by Desert_Runner » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:46 am

I'd try and find someone you know who has either of those guitars, and persuade him to let you try it. If he cares enough to own either of them, chances are they would be set up properly.

Then if you like it, order one from Rich.
Shade wrote:And you're the kind of person that shouldn't walk into a guitar store and pickup every instrument and grope it with your ice cream hands while you rape everyone's ears within 5 square miles with your unique interpretation of Smoke on the Water. Not saying you shouldn't play, but please, have some courtesy to us musicians.
:lol: I know so many Billy Bobs.

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#3 Post by teokiatuan » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:21 am

yeah i never understood big shops either.things are same in singapore. if you're gonna sell a big ticket product,it doesn't hurt to put on a set of elixirs which will last easily 5months or more.

its like trying to sell a car thats poorly maintained.

edit, did you post this at jemsite too?

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#4 Post by calos » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:45 am

Heh, Having actually managed a few guitar stores in my time, I'll tell you this, the guitars are sold pretty much with a factory set up because what is a perfect setup for one player is totally wrong for another different actions string types and guages etc etc etc. And yes intonation is intonation, but when you change one thing on a guitar then you have to pretty much change everything else too.

Now most guitar stores have to _pay_ a guitar tech to set up guitars, or have an arangement of reduce fee in lue of use of premisses. IE the tech gets the room for free and takes a hit on what they are paid for private work over quanity and regularity of work, and the store takes the difference in charges to cover their costs.

It's not good buisness to pay someone to set up a single guitar twice, once for the store and then again for the players own prefference.

As for keeping the stock clean, and the strings reasonabley fresh, there are no excuses though. every saturday last hour was spent cleaning all the guitars down and replacing strings if needed, as well as general tiding, if that's not happening in the stores you've visted, then that's just poor housekeeping.

peace
cal

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justcartilage
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#5 Post by justcartilage » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:13 pm

I know exactly what you mean. Understandably, setups can be a very personal choice, but what I find amazing is the fact that so many guitars on display have crappy old, crusty, horrible feeling strings. I usually find this is the case with the nicer guitars because everyone who comes in wants to 'test drive' them and play something that maybe a bit out of their reach. IMO, crusty strings would make a guitar almost sale-proof.

I'd suggest that if you're serious about purchasing a certain guitar, and you suspect it's what you want, ask the shop to put a new set of strings on it so you can get a true feel for it and hopefully confirm it's what you want.

It's like what car salespeople ask when people want a test drive, "If you like the car, will you buy it?" Same with the guitar. Ask them to change the strings, and let them know if you like the guitar you'll buy it.

J

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#6 Post by Shade » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:09 pm

randomnessman wrote:yeah i never understood big shops either.things are same in singapore. if you're gonna sell a big ticket product,it doesn't hurt to put on a set of elixirs which will last easily 5months or more.

its like trying to sell a car thats poorly maintained.

edit, did you post this at jemsite too?
Yeah, but I decided to throw more humor into this post :).

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#7 Post by hastx » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:34 pm

I know what you mean, I expressed that in my post on the laguna guitars. ...yeah, there is a lot to personalize the setup, but is it really too much to ask to take a wrench to the neck before it goes on the wall?

It's pretty bad when the first assessment you have to to make when you pick up an instrument, is if it actually will be playable after the setup.

There are only a few well equipped music stores around here, and they get pretty busy, which makes it difficult to even track someone down to ask them to adjust it. You feel better bringing your own tools.

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#8 Post by brentm » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:04 pm

Yeah, there are so many variables that go into a setup, besides the factory setup. Temperature, humidity, the person setting the guitar up before it leaves the factory.

I didn't get my JEM7V setup correctly until I did it myself. I'm not proud of the setup, but I really do like it after spending the time to get it right. I replaced the studs with locking studs from Rich Harris. I set the action, intonation and the neck relief. I'm no expert, but I think I got lucky. It feels great to me.

And setups are so personal, that I think you have to be able to see beyond the stock setup when playing a potential guitar for purchase.

I agree... most factory/stock setups really suck and kill the purchasing experience to a certain degree. The best "SETUP" guitar I purchased was from a online thrift store (shopgoodwill dot com). It's a Moridira Hurricane Stratocaster. It's by far the best setup guitar I have and it cost me less than 100 bucks.

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