Nowadays with so many guitars coming into the market, more and more high
quality guitars find there way into second hand stores, cash converters or eBay.
Many very fine guitars have come from these sources but even if you do not find
a six hundred dollar instrument marked down to fifty bucks (or near offer) you
can still, if you are lucky, stumble upon a beautiful guitar guitar at a bargain
price. However, before you go off to your nearest second hand store or e-bay,
you would be very well advised to read the rest of this article which deals with
some of the most common faults found in second hand guitars.
We will look at each part of the guitar separately.
The strings of the guitar are tuned by way of geared pegs located in the
head of the guitar. When the string is tightened, the note produced by the
string rises in pitch, conversely when a string is loosened the note produced is
lower. It is obvious, then, that the tuning pegs on the guitar that you are
considering buying should be in good condition. If the The worm is worn or the
cog cracked or distorted you will find it extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to tune your guitar with any accuracy. If the gears look quite
sound, grasp the actual tuning buttons and turn them five or six times in each
direction. If any show reluctance, beware!
The neck of a guitar should be straight. Any warp or twisting can produce
string rattles and, in the case of serve warp, prevent the guitar playing in
perfect tune. There are not many things that are more annoying than a guitar
which plays slightly 'sharp' or 'flat'. Now we will check the neck for warping.
Hold the guitar with the body pointing away from you, sight along the finger
board as you would a rifle. This will show up any warping. If the guitar has an
adjustable rod running inside the neck, a straight upward warp can usually be
corrected without any difficulty. This is usually found in expensive dreadnought
and cello guitars and recognised by a plate just above the neck in the head. If
the neck is twisted however, do not buy it. If the guitar has no warp adjuster
and there is anything at all wrong with the neck, you would be very foolish to
consider buying it. Check the neck for signs of repair work. Any signs of repair
would tell me not to buy the guitar. If no repair work is visible, hold the
guitar tightly under one arm and pluck a string. With your other hand gently
pull the neck back. If the pitch of the note rises as you exert pressure, the
neck is weakened. Next play each string fret by fret, up the neck and listen for
any rattles or buzzes. these could be caused by raised or loose frets.
A very common fault is the loosening of the joint where the neck meets the
body. Get hold of the neck and gently try to rock it forward and back. Any sign
of movement in the joint is bad. While you have got hold of the neck you should
test for loose braces. These are small strips of wood which are glued underneath
the table and inside the back in order to strengthen the body. Sometimes if the
guitar receives a blow or if the retaining glue becomes brittle, a brace may
loosen. This weakens the guitar and also hampers the tone. Testing for faulty
braces is very easy. Look through the sound hole and see where the braces lie,
then with one hand grasping the neck and effectively deadening the strings, tap
gently along the line of each brace on the outside of the guitar. If you hear
any rattles then you have most likely got brace trouble.
In the case of a classic, folk or dreadnought guitar, where the strings
terminate at a fixed bridge, you should always be on the look out for signs of
weakness where the bridge joins the body. In the case of a steel strung guitar,
in particular, the pressure exerted by the strings at this point is quite
terrifying and should the bridge pull loose while you are playing, it could
inflict a very nasty injury. The place to look for signs of weakness in this
joint is behind the bridge. There should be no gap what so ever between the
bridge and the table. If there is so much as a hairline gap, do not buy the
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