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Have you ever picked up an expensive guitar at your local music store and noticed that it felt terrible? No matter how reputable your hometown guitar store is, this might be a consistent experience for you. But before you get caught up with a negative view on pricier models, we need to go over the reasons why your first date with your dream guitar might not be such an amazing experience.
It can take a long time for a guitar to get from an overseas factory to your hands. On top of that, the guitar may have been played by many other sweaty-handed individuals. This almost always leads to dead strings on many of the guitars hanging on the wall. Old and crusty strings will make any great guitar feel bad.
Poor Neck Adjustment
Fun fact: guitar necks are made of wood, and wood shrinks and swells based on how much moisture it contains. This means humidity has a huge effect on how the neck of the guitar feels. This is particularly noticeable in the relief. Guitar necks have a slight bow that can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the truss rod. Because it’s so hard to control the humidity in a guitar store, many guitars aren’t given the correct amount of relief which results in an uncomfortable playing experience.
This is another problem stemming from humidity. When a guitar’s fretboard lacks moisture, it shrinks. When the wood shrinks, it leaves the sharp metal ends of the frets exposed. This isn’t only annoying, it’s downright painful to deal with.
Lastly, a poor set-up can make any guitar feel awful. Since set-up preference varies wildly from player to player, it becomes impossible for both a manufacturer and the store’s guitar tech to set it up the way you like it.
It’s important to keep all of these factors in mind when trying out any guitar at your local music store. Things like tone, neck profile, and overall build quality are variables that remain consistent no matter how poor the guitar set-up is, so pay attention to those things first and foremost.
So what do you think? Are expensive guitars given a bad rap? Do you think the price difference between a cheap guitar and an expensive guitar is justified? Head over to the comments on the YouTube video and let us know!