How to buy a classical guitar - Tips and Hints to Making a Good Purchase
Purchasing a classical guitar can be a difficult task particularly if you are not yet an accomplished player. Here are some tips and hints on finding a good quality classical guitar whether it is in the hundred dollar range or the thousand dollar range.
If you are have ever gone into a well stocked guitar shop you have no doubt been confused by the selection of guitars. There are literally hundreds of shapes, sizes brands and types of guitars. And the price can range from a hundred dollars to several thousand. .If you are a beginner, judging the sound quality can be difficult to do because your ear is not yet highly trained. Here are some tips to help you make a good choice.
When in a guitar shop and looking at the guitars you should always ask a sales person to help you. This way you can take guitars down and play them. If you cannot play very well you should ask the sales clerk to play for you so you can get a feel for the sound of the different guitars. If the sales clerk doesnít play you should ask if there is someone working in the shop that does play. As a last resort you should even ask other customers in the store. Not listening to the different guitars is like shopping for a car but never test driving any of them. Guitars have very different feels and tones and you should listen to a lot of them to get a sense of what you like. Donít be bashful in this respect. Guitarists are usually a very gregarious bunch and a guitarist will almost always jump at the chance to play for someone else. If you donít yet play well and you canít find somebody to play for you I recommend you not purchase a guitar. You should come back another time when someone is available to play or you can bring a friend who knows how to play.
Check the size and shape of the guitar
Classical Guitars, of course, come in different sizes and shapes and you should sit with a wide variety of them to get a feeling for what is comfortable to you. Your body shape has an effect on this. If you are over six feet tall the smaller guitars might not be comfortable for you and the fret board may be uncomfortable for your hands. So even if you canít play music you should always hold and sit with the guitars to get a sense of how the different ones feel.
Check the mechanics and playability of the guitar
Here are several things you should do when considering the purchase of a classical guitar.
1. Play every note on every string all the way up and down. Listen for frets that donít play properly. They will give a rattling sound and if this occurs on any fret at all you should put the guitar aside and try another one. This is a sign of inferior quality. Every string should play cleanly on every single fret.
2. Check the action of the strings against the frets in terms of how much pressure is needed to play notes and chords. You should play bar chords all the way down the frets to insure good pressure. If it is too hard to press the strings in order to make a clear chord this could be a sign of an inferior guitar.
3. Play harmonics on the strings. This is an excellent test of the quality of the guitar. Playing harmonics is the technique of plucking the note with your right hand and only lightly touching the string with your left hand. Test the harmonics of all the strings on the 5th, 7th, 12th and 19th frets. If you do not know how to play harmonic notes ask the sales clerk to help you.
4. Examine and test the tuning pegs. Do they look clean and sharp? Wind and unwind them while watching and feeling for smooth turning motion.
5. Visually examine the whole guitar. Look it over very carefully from front to back and top to bottom. Are there any small cracks? Are the frets firmly installed into the fret board? Are there any cracks or glue exposed around the bridge?
6. Tap on the front of the guitar (The sound board) in a variety of different spots. Does it have a rich echoing sound or are there spots where it sounds dead and limp? The internal structure of the classical guitar is very important for the sound and important for the longevity of it. Dull thud sounds could be an indicator of an inferior instrument.
7. Examine the details. Look at the purfling around the edge. This is the decorated pattern that goes around the full body where the soundboard or face meets the sides of the guitar. Is it accurately laid in? If this has variations and inconsistencies it is a good sign that the guitar is of inferior quality.
8. Donít hesitate to take a good look inside the guitar sound hole. You will see wooden braces in there. Do they look straight, accurate and well placed? If you see sloppy globs of dried glue around these braces it could be an indicator of inferior craftsmanship.
9. Remember that there are three distinct areas you must consider when purchasing a classical guitar: The Look, The Feel, and the Sound. If you keep all three of these things in mind and carefully examine the guitar in relation to these you will be able to choose an instrument that will bring you a lifetime of trouble free playing enjoyment.
A Classical Guitar is a purchase that can give you a lifetime of enjoyment and you should consider the purchase carefully. Even if you donít plan on playing every day you should buy an instrument that is of good quality so it will maintain its sound quality for a lifetime. And to do this you donít need to spend thousands of dollars you just need to know how to identify a well made guitar.
About the Author: Will Kalif is the author of two self-published epic fantasy novels.
You can download free samples of his work at his personal website:
Storm The Castle - Creativity and Fantasy with an edge
Or you can visit his site devoted to classical guitar at:
The Classical Guitarist