Archive for the ‘Guitar Tips’ Category

Vintage Guitars

There’s a lot of disagreement about what constitutes a “vintage” guitar. Quite a few folks feel that it’s a guitar that’s at least 50 years old, which qualifies everything of that age as “vintage”. I think that the vintage label should vary by brand name and model to some degree. My Webster’s Dictionary defines vintage as exceptionally fine in one of the definitions, and I think that quality should be part of the formula. For instance, I see J-45 and J-50 Gibson acoustic guitars made before 1955 qualifying as vintage. There were changes made in 1955 that made the guitar a little less appealing to me, as of that date. For me, that makes them a step below the 1954. Obviously, they will still be considered vintage instruments by most collectors.  However, I also think of some  Gibson electric guitars made after that date, a number of them being well under 50 years of age, as vintage instruments, because of their desirable atributes.

This sets up dozens of counter arguments, obviously. Value, which I’d define as the price that at least two fairly sane collectors of guitars might pay to own a specific model guitar, also should be considered, in my definition. This is asking for trouble, but I don’t like blanket categories that are age based. Is a 50 year old Harmony guitar “vintage”, or just old?

One thing’s for certain: that 12 year old Strat ain’t “vintage”. It’s a nice, 12 year old guitar. I think about everyone would agree on that.

Making Money on Guitars

You make or lose money on a guitar at the moment you purchase it. If you know that the guitar you can buy now for $100 will bring $200 when you sell it to another person, buy it! Don’t be afraid to buy cheap guitars, but make sure you know their actual value before you reach for your billfold. A 100% return on a $50 guitar is the same as a 100% return on a $500 guitar. You just have to buy and sell more guitars to earn the same amount of money.

Guitar Care: Cases

The very best place to keep your guitar is in a hard-shell case, designed to fit it snugly.  The case should have a padded interior, and be kept clean.  Vacuuming your case periodically will keep dirt and other abrasive material from scratching the guitar’s finish.
The case protects your guitar from bumps, scratches and other damages, when you are not playing it.  It also provides a “mini-climate”, protecting against sudden changes in humidity and temperature, both of which can damage your guitar.  A good case is worth every penny spent for it.

The very best place to keep your guitar is in a hard-shell case, designed to fit it snugly.  The case should have a padded interior, and be kept clean.  Vacuuming your case periodically will keep dirt and other abrasive material from scratching the guitar’s finish.

The case protects your guitar from bumps, scratches and other damages, when you are not playing it.  It also provides a “mini-climate”, protecting against sudden changes in humidity and temperature, both of which can damage your guitar.  A good case is worth every penny spent for it.

Guitar Security: Record Keeping

Thieves see guitars as quick money, saleable to any number of buyers.  There is no practical way to prevent having your guitar stolen, but you can help recover it through fairly simple procedures if it is stolen.
When you purchase a guitar, always get a receipt showing the name, address, telephone number and email of the seller.  The receipt should show the manufacturer, model and serial number of your new instrument along with the price and date of purchase.  Take a couple photographs of the guitar.
Copy the receipt, and keep it with a photograph of the instrument in two different, safe places, with other important records.  If your guitar goes missing, file a police report and give an additional copy of the receipt to the police, and notify your insurance agent.

Thieves see guitars as quick money, saleable to any number of buyers.  There is no practical way to prevent having your guitar stolen, but you can help recover it through fairly simple procedures if it is stolen.

When you purchase a guitar, always get a receipt showing the name, address, telephone number and email of the seller.  The receipt should show the manufacturer, model and serial number of your new instrument along with the price and date of purchase.  Take a couple photographs of the guitar.

Copy the receipt, and keep it with a photograph of the instrument in two different, safe places, with other important records.  If your guitar goes missing, file a police report and give an additional copy of the receipt to the police, and notify your insurance agent.

Buy Bill’s book on guitar collecting:

Guitar Stands

Guitar stands are found in numerous forms, but usually have a cradle that the bottom of the guitar rests on.  There is an upright, which either serves as a rest that the back of the guitar leans against, or a c-shaped rest that the neck of the guitar leans against.
The stands provide a better margin of safety than leaning a guitar against a wall or a piece of furniture.  They also prevent your guitar from being sat or stepped on.  Stands are safest when they are placed in a corner. Stands are temporary rests for guitars, not permanent storage places.  They do not provide the same protection that a good guitar case does.

Guitar stands are found in numerous forms, but usually have a cradle that the bottom of the guitar rests on.  There is an upright, which either serves as a rest that the back of the guitar leans against, or a c-shaped rest that the neck of the guitar leans against.

The stands provide a better margin of safety than leaning a guitar against a wall or a piece of furniture.  They also prevent your guitar from being sat or stepped on.  Stands are safest when they are placed in a corner. Stands are temporary rests for guitars, not permanent storage places.  They do not provide the same protection that a good guitar case does.

Guitar Capos

Capos are mechanical devices which clamp across the strings of the guitar, and press them down on the fingerboard.  This raises the tuning of the guitar, as it moves down the neck toward the sound hole. A capo is essentially a movable nut, which makes playing barred type chords easier without changing chord fingering.  The key changes each time the capo advances down another fret.  For example, a C chord becomes C sharp or D flat with a capo placed just behind the first fret: at the second fret, it becomes a D chord and so on.
Capos are handy devices to have, and occupy little space in the guitar case accessory box. Most capos are adjustable or self-adjusting metal clamps, but other forms exist.

Capos are mechanical devices which clamp across the strings of the guitar, and press them down on the fingerboard.  This raises the tuning of the guitar, as it moves down the neck toward the sound hole. A capo is essentially a movable nut, which makes playing barred type chords easier without changing chord fingering.  The key changes each time the capo advances down another fret.  For example, a C chord becomes C sharp or D flat with a capo placed just behind the first fret: at the second fret, it becomes a D chord and so on.

Capos are handy devices to have, and occupy little space in the guitar case accessory box. Most capos are adjustable or self-adjusting metal clamps, but other forms exist.

Guitar Picks

Most guitarists use a pick to play their instrument, although many do not.  Pick selection is not easy, because a bewildering selection of picks is available.  Picks come in numerous thicknesses, sizes, and shapes, and are made from many different materials, all of which have different characteristics.
Different picks create different sounds, and feel quite different from one another.  Try as many kinds, sizes and shapes as you can, before you choose the one you like best, then make your choice.  Until you have found exactly what you want, don’t buy a large supply of one kind: keep looking, and trying out alternatives.

Most guitarists use a pick to play their instrument, although many do not.  Pick selection is not easy, because a bewildering selection of picks is available.  Picks come in numerous thicknesses, sizes, and shapes, and are made from many different materials, all of which have different characteristics.

Different picks create different sounds, and feel quite different from one another.  Try as many kinds, sizes and shapes as you can, before you choose the one you like best, then make your choice.  Until you have found exactly what you want, don’t buy a large supply of one kind: keep looking, and trying out alternatives.

Buy Bill’s book on Guitar Collecting

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