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getsemani

Posts: 30
Joined: Sep. 11 2010
From: romania

Judging a guitar for 1st time 

Hello,

i'm in the market for a new flamenco guitar. got many miles out of my Navarro student which was great.

When you listen to a guitar for the first time & you want to judge its sound, tone, and construction, what do you play in order to fully capture the guitar's strengths and weaknesses?

Qué tocan ustdes para conocer bien y poder juzgar una el sonido, tono y construcción de una guitarra flamenca?

thanks/Gracias

-gets
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 16:07:11
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to getsemani

Solea

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 16:20:20

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Ricardo

First, examine EVERY part of the guitar for faults. Test the note at the 12th fret to ensure that is the same as the fretted note: if not the bridge could be out. Then, after seeing if a straight ruler set along the frets arrives in the middle of the bridge, and the strings at the bridge have 30º of angle and the strings are not too far from the tapa, play something on the bass strings, then change to the trebles to see if they leap out or are dull.

Columbianas work well; if the notes on the first string at the fifth string do not ring out, look for another guitar.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 17:14:55
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1737
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to getsemani

I play a couple of notes/falsetas first to see if i'm interested at all....if it survives the first impression i send the spanish inquisition armed with various pieces, techniques and sound tests. Just single notes in various positions to check out it's balance, color possibilities and dynamics. I also check techniques of all kinds, falsetas, complete pieces and whatever i decide to throw at it, just checking, balance, sound, dynamics and playability. I also knock on it to check it's acoustic echo... good guitars tend to give back acoustically richer echo's then lesser guitar.

It is wise to check all the notes "one by one", still you'll never capture all possible problems that can occur with various combinations. It is tempting to check out hard to play passages; the test guitar sometimes deals with those passages even better then your own guitar, but later turns out to have it's own problems in other parts of the piece that never were a problem.

Depending on it's future use it might be wise to use two interrogators. Some guitars sound excellent to the player but not to (parts of) the audience.... or the other way around. My father owns a superb classical Ramirez that sounds excellent to it's player but not at all to the person sitting just in front of it....but if that person takes some distance he will suddenly hear the same fabulous sound as the player himself and that sound reaches the back rows of even the biggest concert halls....that guitar is excellent for playing big concert halls (pleasing both the player and the audience) but not for playing in front of a close range student.

Good guitars can loose there spirit overtime when played by lesser players and lesser guitars can gain some spirit when played by and expert (somehow the molecules of the wood adapt to the last frequent player...if you want to sell your guitar, let it be played by Paco Peña for a while and when you get it back it will sound like never before (for a short while because it soon drops to your level again). Obviously this doesn't mean all guitars are equal and that sound quality comes from the player only....it only means a superb player can get the very best out of an instrument (over time) and that lesser players funny enough can be better of with a lesser but more responding guitar then with a better but very hard to tame guitar...every person is different and so is every guitar...they have to be a good pair (at least for a while). Obviously you hope to find yourself a good guitar that is compatible with all levels of playing.

When i'm really interested i play it as long as possible, ..... if you really love it buy it (and hope for the best), when in doubt... don't.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 21:56:45
 
brandoscostumes

 

Posts: 47
Joined: Aug. 28 2010
 

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to getsemani

i personally have no idea but ruben diaz has a pretty extensive video series on the topic on youtube
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 22:10:26
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to getsemani

quote:

i personally have no idea but ruben diaz has a pretty extensive video series on the topic on youtube


Your 26 days late on this one
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 23:47:31
 
Arash

Posts: 4401
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to getsemani

in addition to the things mentioned to test the correct construction (neck, etc.) i think more imporant than a specific palo is that what you play should include all possible techniques, to test the feel and sound. for instance rasgueados, picados, tremolo, alzapua, arpeggios, rumba chords with barree, etc. etc. and do that without capo and with capo on different locations, etc.

Also take your time and never judge any guitar too fast like after 10 minutes.
i have experienced that some guitars which felt a little weird at the beginning, got better and better the more i played up to a "wow" level, probably just because i was used to my past guitar.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2013 12:37:10
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Solea



next i look at the label and date. If it says "conde 19...", then it's good. If not, then it is not good. Pretty easy. Finally I smell it in the sound hole. Test complete.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 2 2013 14:22:23
 
Arash

Posts: 4401
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Solea



next i look at the label and date. If it says "conde 19...", then it's good. If not, then it is not good. Pretty easy. Finally I smell it in the sound hole. Test complete.


some "conde 200.." are not that bad either , when you see "conde 201..." you should also play another solea, just in case :D

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 2 2013 17:20:46
 
lukeofgod

 

Posts: 113
Joined: Jan. 11 2012
 

[Deleted] 

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at May 9 2013 18:32:45
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2013 18:32:05
 
lukeofgod

Posts: 113
Joined: Jan. 11 2012
From: Bay Area- CA

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Solea



Finally I smell it in the sound hole. Test complete.


Haha I though I was the only one...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2013 18:33:22
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1737
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to lukeofgod

quote:

ORIGINAL: lukeofgod

Haha I though I was the only one...


No there are at least 3 of us :-).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2013 18:55:15
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1549
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

if you want to sell your guitar, let it be played by Paco Peña for a while and when you get it back it will sound like never before (for a short while because it soon drops to your level again).


Indeed. I have an amateur classical guitarist friend who’s known to most of the professionals in southern England because of his musicality and his beautiful sound. He calls this “putting music into the guitar”, and following his remarks on this I discussed the subject with several of the said professionals. Everyone pretty much agreed that’s it’s true; and also the converse: that if a potentially good guitar is played by an unmusical incompetent, it goes downhill, and past a certain point can’t be recovered.

What the underlying reasons may be, the luthiers here will no doubt know better than I.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2013 19:16:14
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1737
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

quote:

if you want to sell your guitar, let it be played by Paco Peña for a while and when you get it back it will sound like never before (for a short while because it soon drops to your level again).


I discussed the subject with several of the said professionals. Everyone pretty much agreed that’s it’s true; and also the converse: that if a potentially good guitar is played by an unmusical incompetent, it goes downhill, and past a certain point can’t be recovered.


The previous owner of my Conde must have been an excellent musician because when i obtained it it really sounded like Paco de Lucia (even Paco Peña himself considered buying it and i don't believe he is a Conde lover pur sang). In my less capable hands it unfortunately lost that superb quality. I'm not sure if previously mentioned "point of no return" exist but i did notice a positive effect on the guitar when i put it away a couple of years without strings. When i re-stringed it for a radio performance i enjoyed a couple of very inspiring hours.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2013 20:26:56
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

I play a couple of notes/falsetas first to see if i'm interested at all....if it survives the first impression i send the spanish inquisition armed with various pieces, techniques and sound tests. Just single notes in various positions to check out it's balance, color possibilities and dynamics. I also check techniques of all kinds, falsetas, complete pieces and whatever i decide to throw at it, just checking, balance, sound, dynamics and playability. I also knock on it to check it's acoustic echo... good guitars tend to give back acoustically richer echo's then lesser guitar.


Very involved procedure.

But - would not the make/age/quality/tension, etc. etc. of the strings have some significant effect on this evaluation?

Maybe the luthiers can provide some insight here?

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Fruit farmer, Ontario, Canada
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2013 22:49:56
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1737
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to britguy

quote:

ORIGINAL: britguy

Very involved procedure.

But - would not the make/age/quality/tension, etc. etc. of the strings have some significant effect on this evaluation?



It sure does....and even worse, on most of the guitars offered in the specialized shops the strings action is either to high or to low to make a good judgement.

I recently paid a private seller a visit to try out an old Ibanez classical guitar of the correct period. As expected the string setup and playability was perfect but unfortunately the owner had re-stringed it the previous night and treble strings need a couple of days to get a "bite".... as a result the guitar offered bright bases and extremely dull trebles, making it sound very unbalanced.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2013 16:47:04
 
tri7/5

 

Posts: 506
Joined: May 5 2012
 

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik van Goch
I'm not sure if previously mentioned "point of no return" exist but i did notice a positive effect on the guitar when i put it away a couple of years without strings. When i re-stringed it for a radio performance i enjoyed a couple of very inspiring hours.


Really? One of mine had the strings off for a month for some touch up of french polishing and golpe change. It took a good week after that to get it's voice back as that lack of string tension and playing put the guitar to sleep per-se.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2013 17:25:35
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1423
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

Haha I though I was the only one...



Make that 4...........and with the Anders Eliasson Panama, I cannot resist to smell the soundhole..too.......

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2013 17:32:11
 
NormanKliman

Posts: 1143
Joined: Sep. 1 2007
 

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to getsemani

quote:

When you listen to a guitar for the first time & you want to judge its sound, tone, and construction, what do you play in order to fully capture the guitar's strengths and weaknesses?

Techniques and neck position, as others have said upthread, to make sure there are no problems, but I'd recommend not getting too hung up on that. Buzzing and intonation are key issues, of course, but if it's just a question of the guitar feeling different in your hands, you'll probably eventually get used to it. I'd spend just a few minutes checking for said problems and the rest of the time playing certain chords and falsetas that make the guitar resonate. My choice would be to play some of Paco de Lucía's compositions.

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Be here now.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2013 18:29:47
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1737
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: Judging a guitar for 1st time (in reply to tri7/5

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dyingsea

quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik van Goch
I'm not sure if previously mentioned "point of no return" exist but i did notice a positive effect on the guitar when i put it away a couple of years without strings. When i re-stringed it for a radio performance i enjoyed a couple of very inspiring hours.


Really? One of mine had the strings off for a month for some touch up of french polishing and golpe change. It took a good week after that to get it's voice back as that lack of string tension and playing put the guitar to sleep per-se.


I probably gave it 1 or 2 days as well for the treble strings to stretch out, but once they gained sound that guitar offered some of it's best moments.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2013 22:23:58
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